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SEEING EUROPE THROUGH 
SIGHTLESS EYES 




Almeda C. Adams 



SEEING EUROPE THROUGH 
SIGHTLESS EYES 



BY 



ALMEDA C. ADAMS 




THE GRAFTON PRESS 
PUBLISHERS NEW YORK 






Copyright, 1929 
ByALMEDA C. ADAMS 



Printed in the United States of America 



FOREWORD 

Lest the purpose of this little book be misunderstood, I must 
beg of you who do me the honor to take it in hand, that you 
pause a moment to read this foreword. 

Perhaps that purpose may best be denned by stating what 
it is not. 

First, it is not a book on travel. The author is far too con- 
scious of her limitations to attempt any such task. By the same 
sign, neither is it a treatise on Art nor yet a study in the psy- 
chology of blindness. 

It is just the simple story of a happy year, and its object is 
threefold. First, to bring to others, if she may, something of 
the marvelous thrill, the deep gladness, which the experience 
brought to her. 

A joy shared is a joy doubled and so the writer has dared 
to hope that she might add her tiny measure to the sum of 
happiness, of which there is not too much in this old world. 

But this little book is the outgrowth of an impulse much 
more vital and far-reaching than the mere giving of pleasure, 
namely, the hope that it may awaken in the hearts of those 
who read, a deeper sense of the unity of all human life and 
human experience, no matter in what language those experi- 
ences may find expression. Thus shall the writer have added 
her tiny torch to light that flame of universal love and under- 
standing which shall some day outlaw war from the world. 

Last, but by no means least, this book is offered as a 
tribute, all too unworthy, to the beloved lady to whom the 
writer owes, not only this perfect year, but also many other 
joys which her shadowed life has known. She will not permit 



vi Foreword 

me to use her name. I can therefore but dedicate this book 
to My Wonder Lady, with all the deepest love and devotion 
of my heart. 

Almeda C. Adams 

503 Frederick Building, 
Cleveland, O. 



CONTENTS 

Foreword v 

How it Happened 1 

New York to Berlin: 

On Board the President Roosevelt 2 

In Paris and Versailles 4 

In Interlaken and Lucerne 8 

Berlin at Last 10 

First Impressions of Berlin: 

Life in Germany 11 

Potsdam and Frederick the Great 14 

Opera and Concert in Berlin 18 

A Week-end in Dresden: 

Saxony and August the Strong 25 

The Sistine Madonna works a Miracle 27 

The Gruene Gewoelbe 28 

Turandot at the Dresden Opera 29 

The Porcelain Gallery 30 

Back in Berlin: 

A Day in Gruenewald 34 

Thanksgiving in Berlin 36 

Opera and more Opera 41 

Berlin at Christmas Time 43 

En Route for Milan: 

Nuremberg 47 

Munich the Marvelous 52 

Oberammergau and its Saint 55 

Vienna and its Tragedy 58 

Venice 66 

vii 



Vlll 



Contents 



Milan: 

A Cool Reception 66 

A Moving Occasion 68 

La Scala and its Wizard . . .72 

The Castello 78 

Spring at Last and such a Spring . . ' . . . .80 

Genoa — The Magic City: 

Streets of Stairs .82 

From Clothes-lines to a University 83 

Tea on the Righi 84 

A Church, and a May Bride 84 

Farewell to Milan .87 



Florence — Dream City of Italy: 

The Duomo, the Campanile and the Baptistry 

The Medici, their Palace and their Church 

Social Service in Florence: The Misericordia 

The Palazzo Vecchio and Savonarola 

The Uffizi and Botticelli .... 

Fiesole, a Radiant Memory 

The Bargello: Donatello and Michelangelo 

The Academia and the Michelangelo David 

San Marco and Fra Angelico . 

Spedale degli Innocenti and the Delia Robbias 

The Pitti Palace and Rafael .... 



92 

96 

98 

98 

100 

101 

102 

104 

105 

106 

107 



Rome: 



A Rosebud well equipped with Thorns 110 

St. Peter's, Vastest of Christian Temples . . . .111 
The Colosseum, San Pietro in Vincoli, and the Catacombs . 112 
A Personal Interview with Pope Pius Eleventh . . .115 

The Church of St. Paul 116 

The Church of the Cappuccini, San Bernardo, and Santa 

Maria della Vittoria 118 

The Roman Forum 119 

The Churches of San Clemente 123 

The Museo Nazionale, and the Pantheon . . . .125 
The Vatican 127 



MONTREUX, AND GENEVA: 

An All-Night Journey 129 

The Castle of Chillon 133 



Contents ix 

Up the Pleiades 'mid Fields of Bloom 136 

A Day in Geneva 138 

Paris once More: 

Mary Garden — and two of her Country-women . . . 141 

The Luxembourg, and the Pantheon 143 

Versailles, and Malmaison 145 

Les Invalides 151 

To London by Air 158 

Merry England: 

The English-Speaking Union 160 

Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul's 166 

The Smaller Art Galleries, and the British Museum . .167 

The Tower, and the Temple 175 

Stratford and Warwick, by way of Eton and Oxford . .178 

Old World, Farewell 191 



SEEING EUROPE THROUGH 
SIGHTLESS EYES 

Pension Stoessinger, 
47 augsburgerstrasse, 
Berlin, Germany. 
September 15, 1926. 

My Beloved Friends Overseas: 

To you, who in the past have been kind enough to be 
interested in my very ordinary and uneventful life and my com- 
monplace personality, I am going to write, in full detail, the 
story of the only real event which has ever distinguished my 
humble history. If, in inflicting upon you this narrative, I am 
presuming too far upon that kindly interest, please do not 
hesitate to consign this letter to the obscurity of the waste 
basket without the least compunction, because I fully realize 
that this experience cannot possibly assume the vital importance 
or bring the intense thrill to any one else which it is constantly 
doing to me. 

There is a certain young soprano as yet unknown to fame, 
but of whom I feel sure that the world will some day hear. 
Her name is Esther Cadkin and if you ever see it on a 
programme, go and hear her. She has studied for several years 
with the noted teacher, Percy Rector Stephens of New York. 
Last spring the Wonderful Lady of the Great Heart, who is 
her patroness, decided that it was time for her to go abroad in 
order to bear that foreign stamp and acquire that cosmopolitan 
culture which a singer must have in order to achieve success. 

When this wonderful lady did me the honor of asking me 



2 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

to accompany Miss Cadkin as her chaperone, I was at first 
quite overwhelmed. Now, as a chaperone, I am sure I would 
be a howling success. Brave indeed would be the young speci- 
men of masculinity who would dare to face my frowning visage 
and capture the maiden under my charge. Miss Cadkin is a 
most charming and vivid young person, and she is as attractive 
to young men as a sugar jar to flies; still I have full confidence 
in my ability to fend off these dangerous foes to the success of 
a singer. But a chaperone who takes a singer to foreign fields 
has need of other qualifications than the ability to look fierce 
and forbidding, and as I had never been abroad, as I am a very 
humble person without foreign connections or influence of any 
sort, I felt that Our Lady of the Great Heart had made a bad 
choice and I told her so. But perhaps because of my advanced 
age and my aforementioned ability as a buffer or for some other 
reason, she seemed to think that I was the person. 

A trip abroad is a thing of which all my life long I have 
dreamed. I am a poor sleeper and through long wakeful 
nights I have painted dazzling pictures of Paris, Berlin and 
the Swiss Alps. But never in my wildest moments did I hope 
to see those wondrous places except in dreams. My friend, if 
you have any dear desire and wonder dream, do not give up 
hope of its realization, for nothing is impossible. This I am 
learning. Life is a very checkered thing. Sometimes we think 
its colors are all somber blacks and blues; but always the Great 
Artist has waiting for all of us some beautiful days all pink 
and gold and glorious and we never can tell when the picture 
will suddenly glow and sparkle with loveliness. 

We sailed from New York on the U. S. ship "President 
Roosevelt" on Wednesday, August 11th, at high noon. Our 
stateroom which, by the way, was very commodious, having real 
beds instead of berths and running hot and cold water, was 
bright with flowers, the gifts of loving and thoughtful friends 
who thus wished us bon voyage, and we spent a large part of 
the first afternoon reading our dear boat letters. 

The "President Roosevelt" is a boat of medium size, but 
she distinguished herself and her captain, if you remember, 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 3 

by rescuing a small boat in the Pacific Ocean several years ago 
in the midst of a severe storm. Her commander, Captain Fried, 
was given a great ovation on his return to New York. He is, 
by the way, an extremely modest man and hates to be lionized. 

We should by every sign have had a delightful trip over. 
The sun shone and the water was like glass most of the time. 
But my companion is a better singer than sailor, I am sorry to 
say, and disgraced herself by being very ill almost every mo- 
ment of the trip. And her chaperone equally disgraced her- 
self by worrying needlessly. Never having seen an extreme 
case of seasickness, I imagined all sorts of things and only you 
who know me, know what a worry bug I can have on occasion. 
Possibly I might have given a little better account of myself 
if I had not been desperately tired when we started, but per- 
haps this is only an alibi after all. 

We had expected to land at Bremen and go from there 
immediately to Berlin. But when I learned that the boat 
stopped at Cherbourg and that a convoy came and took off 
passengers, I determined to get my young lady off the briny 
deep at the earliest possible moment. Not quite that, for we 
did stop at Plymouth the afternoon before we reached Cher- 
bourg, but England was not in our line of march. Does a 
water trip have a line of march? 

Seldom have I felt a more intense thrill than that which 
the shores of Plymouth gave me. For the first time in all my 
thoroughly American existence, I realized what it really meant 
for that little band of Pilgrims to turn their faces from that 
beautiful friendly shore towards a wild and unknown sea, a 
sea then almost uncharted, to adventure upon it in boats which 
we would consider about as seaworthy as egg shells, to leave 
behind all that they knew as home and sail in these utterly 
futile craft to a shore, the very location of which was wrapped 
in mystery. This they did. This heritage of heroism, of 
devotion to an ideal, of high adventure, they left to us. 

Ah, tragic it seems to me that we should be and are so 
unworthy of that legacy, that we have so little real brother- 
hood for all mankind, that our men in high places so often 



4 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

fail to hold as a hallowed trust the money and power placed 
in their hands, that we live so softly, love so scantly, worship 
so casually. "Pessimistic," you say? Perhaps, but as I 
watched the green shores of Plymouth, I could but feel that 
we were not worthy of our Pilgrim forebears. 

The boat which took us from the "Roosevelt" to land at 
Cherbourg was a good deal like a New York ferry-boat. The 
trip from Cherbourg to Paris took seven hours, though an 
American train would, I think, have made it in four. Nobody 
seems to know how far any place is from any other over here. 
You ask them and they just tell you how many hours it takes. 

We reached Paris about four in the afternoon. Tired? 
Yes. Thrilled? Oh, a thousand times Yes! With my usual 
faculty of doing the wrong thing, we went first to the hotel 
which had been recommended to us — a cheap downtown 
hostelry. I thought we would hardly like it so we squandered 
taxi fares going to two others, which we liked less, and came 
back to the one from which we started. Efficiency? Oh, no. 
Just plain stupidity. The little hotel was, or rather is, called 
"Hotel Madelaine" and is situated on Rue de Surene just back 
of the Cathedral Magdalene. It is nothing remarkable in any 
way unless it be remarkable for noise. The family who kept 
it consisted of monsieur, madame, and their daughter, the 
charming young mademoiselle. I liked them better than any 
French people I met. 

Our first day in Paris was spent trying to get our bearings 
and having a shampoo and, by the way, in spite of all they say 
about French skill in that direction, it was a very poor one. 

On Saturday we went with a party, sent by one of the 
touring agencies, to Versailles. Perhaps if one knows 
the ropes the touring agencies are not the ideal way, but for 
strangers and especially inefficient ones like us they are cer- 
tainly lifesavers. I had a strange experience in the beginning. 
The guide, when he discovered that I was without sight, was 
determined that I should remain in the car the whole after- 
noon and evening. In vain I reminded him that the company 
which employed him had sold me the ticket knowing perfectly 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 5 

the circumstances. He said blind people ought to stay in their 
rooms and he became so disagreeable that I finally was obliged 
simply to insist that I was going. Then he said, "You shut 
up then and don't speak a word or I will throw you out." It 
was dreadful, and for a few moments I really felt that I could 
not stay, but when the rest of the party discovered the situation 
the men said some exceedingly plain things to him and he 
immediately began trying to be very polite. His attitude toward 
my handicap seemed to reflect a feeling universal in Paris. 
Everywhere people looked their disapproval of me and of 
Esther for having me. It would seem that they shut their sight- 
less people up in cages or something of the sort. I had heard 
much of French polish but frankly I failed to see any evidence 
of it except in the clerks who serve one in stores and in the 
nice little family at our hotel. Of course, I realize that this 
may have been partially due to the fact that at present Ameri- 
cans are "persona non grata" to the French, and they certainly 
make no effort to conceal the fact. 

We were unusually fortunate in our choice of the day. The 
fountains, whose magic transforms Versailles into an enchanted 
palace, were playing. They do this on Sunday as a rule, and 
then not more than once or twice a month, but this Saturday 
was made a Fete-day, and the whole scene was one of inde- 
scribable beauty. The Gardens of Versailles are to me less 
beautiful in themselves than those of Fontainebleau, but the 
palace is more interesting, and when the fountains play the 
whole scene is fairy-land. 

The palace of Versailles is marvelous. Each salon is dif- 
ferent from any other. The building is marble and gilt and 
every inch of wall space is covered either with mural paintings 
or exquisite tapestries. One room, the Salon de Miroirs, is 
entirely covered with mirrors and has in the center a chandelier 
of indescribable beauty. 

The most interesting portion of the palace we did not see, 
and that too was because we had a poor guide. He was new 
to our tourist company and so many complaints were made 
of him that I doubt if they ever hired him again. The portion 



6 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

which we failed to see was the suite of tiny apartments belong- 
ing to Marie Antoinette, to which she used to retire to escape 
the pressure of the life about her. Poor little Marie! The 
whole palace breathes the presence of that hapless young queen 
who died because she could not understand. Her life of luxury 
made it impossible for her to comprehend either the sufferings 
or the resentment of her people. She was not wicked, this 
poor little Marie; she just did not understand. I wonder if 
that is not the cause of all the trouble in the world. 

We thought Versailles was beautiful in the afternoon, but 
the evening held still more wonderful revelations. At eight 
a concert was given by the stars from various opera houses, 
including some from the Grande. Their platform was a barge 
out on the little lake from which the music floated in like some 
mystic choir. A soprano and chorus gave the prison scene 
from "11 Trovatore," and one excerpt from "Samson" and a 
ballet danced in true French fashion. 

During one of the intermissions, suddenly, without warn- 
ing, a miracle happened. From under the fountain green 
lights shot up transforming the columns of water into green 
liquid trees from which white blossoming spray branches 
radiated as if a fairy forest were created by the touch of some 
magic wand. Then, just as suddenly, the lights were changed 
to red and it was as if fire glowed in the heart of each up- 
springing fountain. Again the lights changed from red to 
white and millions of diamonds sparkled every whither. You 
felt as if you were seeing all Marie Antoinette's jewels at once. 
As the light faded they sent up brilliant fireworks making a 
gorgeous finale to the color scheme. One was literally steeped 
in color. 

Never before in my life have I felt that I really saw color, 
but this was so vivid that actually it seemed perceptible to other 
nerves than those of the eye. One bathed in color. One ab- 
sorbed light. I cannot express what this experience meant to 
me. I seemed, that night, to have been born anew into your 
world of vision. Color has become to me a vivid reality. 
There are times, it is true, when I seem to lose this new color 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 7 

sense but it always comes back. Will it make me able to see 
pictures, I wonder? 

This marvelous display is, they tell us, very costly and is 
rarely indulged in. We certainly had to bless our Fate Genie 
for sending it the day we were there. My little Music Maiden 
was simply enraptured. All the sensitive, responsive chords of 
her thrilled to it and I can but feel that she will always sing 
better for having seen it. 

Sunday morning we should have gone to church at one 
of the wonderful cathedrals of Paris, but in actual fact we 
stayed in bed until nearly noon. We were so weary. In the 
evening we went to the Opera Comique to hear "Lakme." It 
was a wonderful performance. The Grande Opera is, of 
course, the most expensive of the two opera houses of Paris, 
but to our way of thinking, the mantle of its former glory has 
fallen upon the Opera Comique. We heard "Faust" at the 
Grande later in the week and never heard a more wretched per- 
formance, and we heard "Louise," that epic of Parisian life, 
at the Comique and it was wonderful. 

We saw less during the week that followed than we could 
have wished because Miss Cadkin was ill one day and not very 
strong thereafter. However, we did go to the Eiffel Tower. 
We also spent one day with the Cathedrals, seeing our neigh- 
bor, St. Magdalene, a comparatively modern and charming 
structure; also the Cathedral of Sacre Coeur, which stands in 
the midst of a most thickly populated district. But most of 
all, we lingered in Notre Dame, that mother of Paris into 
whose great heart are poured the anguishes, the fears, the 
hopes, the despairs of this passionate people, and within whose 
sacred portals they seem to find cooling peace for their fevered 
spirits and comfort for their sorrows. 

Paris made upon me a strange and vivid impression, from 
which I cannot even yet wholly escape. It seemed to me like a 
vast farce comedy played above a volcano which might at any 
moment swallow up alike theatre and players. The condition 
of France is desperate. The value of the franc literally fluctu- 
ates hourly. The government seems uncertain and vacillating, 



8 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

and because the people are desperate, they laugh ; because they 
know not what the morrow may bring, they play madly today. 

One thing is certain and only one. Namely, that debt and 
the burden of relentless toil to pay that debt, is all the legacy 
they have to bequeath to their children and their children's 
children. That they meet this situation with defiant laughter 
and an undercurrent of hot bitterness is not to be marveled 
at. It calls forth but pity and a sort of admiration. 

Yet there is one thing that goes deeper even than all the 
tragedy of war, the worm at the heart of the rose; the peril 
worse than pestilence: namely, the social evil. If France ever 
dies as a nation, it will not be because of debt or of all the 
horrors of war. It will be because she has failed to guard the 
"white cross" of her womanhood. They drink wine incessantly, 
morning, noon and night, and although they are not drunk, 
this constant stimulation makes them crave more stimulation, 
and they seek it in sexual life. The opera of "Louise" is to 
me a perfect picture of Parisian life and its tragedy is daily 
enacted a thousand times in that great passion-tossed city. 

One thing we failed to do, and that failure I blush to 
admit. We did not see the Louvre. This cannot be done in 
an hour or in two, and because Miss Cadkin was not well we 
were unable to attempt it. For the same reason our stay in 
Paris was shorter than it might otherwise have been. 

On Saturday, August 26th, we left the city behind with 
mingled emotions of regret and relief, and journeyed to Inter- 
laken. Straight from the feverish life of one of the world's 
most hectic cities into the heart of the most beautiful, most 
peaceful country in all the world. 

Switzerland! Ah, the very word has magic. Switzerland, 
where the mountains kiss the feet of God all day and the 
valleys lie like green velvet under the gold of the sun. Where 
the people seem to have inbreathed the silent strength of their 
mountains. 

Such cultivation I never dreamed of. Every inch of space 
grows something. Even the plots around the railway stations 
grow flowers and vegetables. I can never describe the sense of 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 9 

utter peace which stole over me when we entered our rooms 
in the Hotel Jura where we stopped for a week under the 
very shadow of the Jungfrau. 

Along the main streets of Interlaken, there are numbers of 
little shops which simply tempt the money out of one's purse. 
Such exquisite things these Swiss make: pins, clocks, carved 
boxes. I shall never be happy till I can go back with money 
enough to buy every one of you some lovely bit. 

One day we went to the top of the Jungfrau, that is, as near 
the top as the little mountain railway will take one. And that 
means eleven thousand feet above sea level. The other two 
thousand feet which measure the entire height of that large 
Mountain Lady have to be climbed on hands and knees and 
I had to leave that to the men, much as I hate to admit it. 
There is a small hotel on the plateau where the railway ends. 
They stop there over night and the guides take them up in 
the morning. Wish I were a man. I certainly would never 
stop till I touched the Jungfrau' s white coronet. She was 
snow-clad where we were, and when the sun touched her she 
sparkled like a diamond-clothed queen, which she is. She 
stands above her valleys and guards them with eternal vigi- 
lance and clothes them in peace as in a garment. 

The railway which took us up the mountain is the most 
marvelous engineering achievement which one can conceive, 
sometimes climbing straight up the sheer sides of the moun- 
tain, where it seems that it must slide backward at any moment, 
and sometimes going through tunnels blasted out of the solid 
rock, tunnels four miles long and just big enough to make a 
box for holding the cars. Imagine making tunnels of that 
length at a height where just breathing is a task. The labor 
must have required years and been paid for with a toll of 
human life. Looking out of the train, one is everywhere con- 
fronted by the evidence of Divine power and majesty; and 
looking in, one is almost equally thrilled with the genius of 
man, that could so conquer seemingly insurmountable difficul- 
ties. 

We were in Interlaken a week, and I shall always remem- 



10 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

ber it as the most perfect experience of my life. From Inter- 
laken we went to Lucerne en route for Berlin. The journey 
is a matter of about three hours. 

From my earliest childhood, the very word Lucerne has 
held for me a kind of magic. When I was very tiny, my 
mother used to sing me a song about "Poor Rose of Lucerne," 
and the charm still holds. I must admit, however, that it lost 
some of its potency in actual experience. I do not know 
whether it was because no place would ever seem perfect to 
me after Interlaken or whether it was due to the weather. It 
rained nearly all the time. The Lake of Lucerne is lovely. 
We took a trip on it on Sunday, but even then it rained. I 
am sure, however, that there are beauties in Lucerne which 
we did not see for we were there only from Saturday after- 
noon until Monday afternoon, the reason being that my young 
lady was growing restive for her work. 

From Lucerne about four hours brought us to Freiburg 
where we spent one night. Although we did not reach it until 
after seven in the evening, we walked through its quaint, 
narrow streets and I felt that I should love to stay a week 
in this fascinating little German town. 

There, as at Lucerne, and again when we first reached 
Berlin, we stopped at one of a chain of hotels which are found 
throughout Germany, called "Christliches Hospiz." I have 
an idea that these are conducted by some organization con- 
nected with the Lutheran Church, although they do not exactly 
admit this. They have all the advantages of a Y. W. C. A. 
They are large and commodious, and are for both men and 
women. The atmosphere is extremely gracious and refined 
and they are reasonable beyond belief. If you ever travel in 
Germany try the "Christliches Hospiz." 

The only wearying trip we had was that from Freiburg 
to Berlin. We left the former at eight in the morning and 
did not reach Berlin till nearly nine at night. The train was 
extremely crowded. 

By the way, I rather like these compartment trains when 
they are not too congested. But crowding six people and their 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 11 

luggage into one small compartment is not conducive to com- 
fort, especially as some one of the six always hates fresh air 
and some other one is apt to need a bath. We did not travel 
third class, either, but second as do all middling people 
like us. 

Our Christliches Hospiz looked doubly attractive to us that 
night. My young lady knows some German, as also some 
French, and I have never seen anyone so adept at making that 
knowledge serve. She disproves the usual supposition that 
singers are impractical, for she is exceedingly clever about find- 
ing her way and getting whatever she wants. 

We reached Berlin late Tuesday night and by Thursday 
afternoon we had found our pension, and a pleasant one it is. 
We each have a room. Mine small, but my young lady's good 
sized as it must be to hold a piano. For these two rooms and 
three meals we pay fifteen marks or three dollars and seventy- 
five cents a day, with an additional mark and a half for service. 
It could not be done in America, I am sure. 

Many things about living arrangements seem very strange 
to us. Breakfast, for instance, is one invariable thing; hard 
rolls and coffee served in your room. No cereal or fruit, and 
no hope of eating it outside your boudoir. I do not like it. 
The heavy meal of the day, so-called, is served at two in the 
afternoon. But the suppers are to me impossible. Always 
some fried thing, so hopelessly indigestible, that I cannot see 
why everybody does not die of it. Personally, I do not attempt 
it and so usually go to bed hungry. They do not even serve 
tea or coffee at night. Poor old maid me! 

Blankets seem to be unknown. Even at our hotel, the 
covering was a feather comfort buttoned into a white cover. 
As for a bath which is in America a mere incident of the day, 
here it is an event and should be celebrated by blare of 
trumpet and flying flags. In the first place it costs two marks 
(fifty cents) and in the second place you have to tell the maid 
about it and after some half hour or more she produces it. 
Fortunately we have running hot and cold water in our rooms 
which is unusual here and helps much. 



12 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Before we came to Berlin, we were told that it was far 
less musical than some other German cities, Munich or Salz- 
burg, for instance. But if these cities have any more music 
in quantity than Berlin, I do not see how they have time to 
do anything else. Berlin has two opera houses: The Staats 
Oper, Royal Opera, formerly patronized by the Kaiser; and 
Staedtische Oper. The latter is newer and, many say, better. 

So far, we have heard but one opera and that at the Staats 
Oper, "Magic Flute." The singing I did not like. German 
voices seem to me dreadfully throaty, possibly because of the 
guttural consonants in which the language abounds. But the 
performance was to me a revelation. When one struggles with 
the difficulties of a Mozart aria like that of the "Queen of the 
Night," it is impossible to realize that these arias really belong 
to operas that are almost as light as musical comedy. "Magic 
Flute" is one laugh from beginning to end and the Queen of 
the Night, with her tremendously difficult coloratura stuff is 
the villain in the play. 

Besides opera and symphony, the recital boards are full to 
overflowing and there is a coming Bach Festival to last four 
days from September thirtieth. Every young artist who hopes 
to appear in America soon gives a recital here and upon the 
press notices received depends in measure his or her fate. For 
we Americans certainly take our cue from Europe and feel 
in duty bound to like what European critics like and condemn 
what they condemn. 

One can, of course, not hope to go to everything, but it 
is true that prices are much less here. We secured good seats 
for one night of the Bach Festival for a dollar apiece and 
you can hear three operas for what you would pay for one in 
New York. 

One thing constantly amazes me. Namely, that the Ger- 
mans against whom we fought in the Great War seem to have 
no resentment towards us and treat us with the utmost courtesy, 
while the French, whom we came over to help, seem at present 
to hate us cordially. One is reminded of the proverb "Lend 
money to a friend and you lose both your money and your 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 13 

friend." I cannot believe that the rank and file of the Ger- 
man people would ever have chosen to fight a war as cruel 
as any in all history. They seem to me a gentle and courteous 
people and marvelous it seems that a few years could work 
such radical change. The Crown Prince rides down Unter 
den Linden in his car and no one pays special attention, while 
ten years ago such an event would have been accompanied by 
the utmost pomp and ceremony. 

So far as I have spoken to Germans, and they were very 
intelligent, the universal feeling is that they do not wish the 
return of the Kaiser and that this is desired only by that small 
class of the nobility to whom his regime gave power and 
wealth. Some one laughingly said he doubted if the Crown 
Prince himself wanted the old days back again, he is having 
a much freer and better time. But even here, where the war 
was not fought, its bitter price is being paid. The people toil 
long hours for almost nothing, and their children must accept 
this heritage. 

The more I meet those of other tongues than mine, of 
other racial inheritance than mine, of other types of education 
than mine, the more deeply I am impressed, not with differ- 
ences, but with the underlying unity of all human nature. Ah, 
when will the world learn that common pain, common joys, 
common struggles, make of us one great family whose law 
should be love and compassion and deepest sympathy. 

With love to you all and the hope that possibly in all this 
there may be something worth your reading, I am, 

Yours always, 

Almeda C. Adams 



14 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Pension Stoessinger, 
47 augsburgerstrasse, 
Berlin, Germany. 
September 26, 1926 

Yesterday added a new and most vivid chapter to the story 
of our European experiences. We went to Potsdam, a town 
of some sixty-nine thousand inhabitants, where, for two hun- 
dred years, the monarchs of Germany have had their summer 
home and held summer court. There, for generations, the 
beauty and wealth of Europe were assembled. 

The trip is in itself delightful. We took a large motor bus 
and the route took us through some of the most interesting 
parts of Berlin and Charlottenburg. 

Charlottenburg was originally a town by itself. It is now 
really West Berlin and is under the Berlin government. We 
live in Charlottenburg, so of course it is at present a dis- 
tinguished spot. We passed the Technical High School, the 
largest high school in the world, with its vast grounds where 
the students learn all kinds of agriculture and floral culture. 

The journey by bus ended at Wannsee. The Germans call 
every tiniest lake "See" same as our sea. At the Wannsee, 
we went down steps and some more steps. Really, I am sure 
there were a hundred of them, I wish I had counted. At last 
we reached the water and there was the loveliest motor boat 
I ever saw. Not just a little deck sort of thing, but a real boat, 
with a cabin all glassed in, through whose windows one could 
look out upon the beautiful shores as one passed. 

Of course, the cabin was all set with tables for lunch. The 
Germans must eat, wherever, whenever, whatever. Unfor- 
tunately, we had taken lunch with us from our pension be- 
cause we did not know that they furnished a wonderful hot 
meal on the boat. So we ate sandwiches like poor little step 
children, and the Germans do not know how to make them. 
They put the meat on small hard rolls. We had to watch all 
the other people having a nice hot dinner. We did have tea, 
however, which helped some. But I hate cold lunches. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 15 

The Wannsee narrowed after about half an hour into a 
mere river or canal. Here the shore almost kissed our boat 
and we could see the beautiful summer homes set a little way 
back with their well-kept lawns and their private boats tied 
at the water's edge. The trees were marvelous. They have 
trees here of which I do not even know the names and I am 
going to get myself educated on that subject as soon as pos- 
sible. In another half or three quarters of an hour the little 
river widened again into another small lake. The harbor of 
Potsdam is between two of these lovely little lakes, Jungfern- 
see, or the "Lake of Maidens," and Tiefensee or "Deep Lake." 

If Versailles breathed the name of Marie Antoinette, then 
Potsdam literally cries out the name of Frederick the Great, 
that marvel of monarchs, who changed the national geography 
of all Europe and sowed the seeds of that doctrine of German 
domination which fructified in the World War. 

We passed by the garrison where were trained the hussars 
and the cavalry which have made Germany the greatest mili- 
tary nation on the globe and the guide spoke of this garrison 
as the military cradle of Germany. Our guide, by the way, 
was simply wonderful. I never saw anything like these Euro- 
pean guides. They speak German, French, Italian and English 
with equal fluency and they know absolutely everything. The 
history of the world is at their tongues' ends, and they reel 
off dates and events without a scrap of paper. Ours was one 
of the finest of these. 

Our first stop was at the Garrison or Court Church, built 
by William the First, father of Frederick the Great, in 1732 to 
1735. Of course, this is a Lutheran church and so is not like 
the cathedrals we saw in France. In this solid and somber 
stone structure are interred the bones of Frederick the Great 
and here have worshiped the kings of Germany from his 
day to that of the Kaiser. In fact the cross of the pulpit was 
given by the Kaiser and the Bible by his Queen. The royal 
family might not sit in one seat and worship together as a 
family should. The king occupied the highest "loge" and his 
wife the one below. 



16 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

In a niche in the wall is the coffin of Frederick the Great. 
When, in 1805, Napoleon was in Potsdam as a conqueror, 
he and his guard entered this church. The members of the 
guard did not remove their hats, but kept them on as a sign 
of their superior position as victors. Instantly Napoleon 
exclaimed, "Hats off, gentlemen. If this man were alive we 
would not be here." Thus did one great general pay tribute 
to another. 

From the Garrison Church we went to the New Palace, 
as it is called. This marvelous and magnificent structure was 
built by Frederick the Great after the Seven Years' War, to 
show Europe, as he said, that Frederick's coffers were not ex- 
hausted. On the top of the tower are the figures of three 
women, representing his three enemies: Lady Pompadour of 
France, Maria Theresa of Austria and Elizabeth of Russia. 
On a great cushion, these women bear a crown. Frederick 
said, "These ladies tried to deprive me of my crown; now 
they may carry it for me for all time." When the palace was 
completed he laughingly remarked: "I have money enough to 
build this palace and to furnish one hundred and eighty rooms 
sumptuously, but not enough to dress the three ladies on top." 

I made an attempt to describe Versailles, but this palace 
with its vast salons, so marvelously furnished, baffles my power 
of description. There are cabinets inlaid with tortoise shell 
and mother of pearl and filled with most beautiful vases. Many 
of these are of Pompeiian ware and are the originals excavated 
from the ruins of that city. The German monarchs seem to 
have been intensely interested in these antiquities. The chan- 
deliers in these rooms are of china, some of Berlin china, 
and some of the Dresden ware, known as Meissen. 

There are a number of dining rooms ranging from the 
small private dining rooms on the second floor to the banquet 
hall seating three hundred and fifty people. The music room 
is fascinating; its collection representing all the instruments 
used from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, spinets and 
harpsichords inlaid with mother of pearl and flutes of every 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 17 

description. Frederick the Great loved the flute and was no 
mean performer on that instrument. 

One room I must describe or attempt to describe in detail, 
the Shell Room, or, as the Germans call it, "Der Muschelsaal." 
The walls and ceiling of this salon are literally tapestried with 
shells of every variety, inset with precious and semi-precious 
stones. At one end is a flower-like cluster of lapis-lazuli whose 
vivid blue dominates the color scheme as the poignant notes 
of a violin dominate the orchestra. The effect is indescribable. 

It seems incredible that until a few years ago the Kaiser 
lived in this gorgeous palace and ruled Germany with an iron 
hand. All the German kings are either William-Frederick or 
Frederick-William. The Frederick-Williams are Frederick 
First, Second and so forth. There have been just two William- 
Fredericks. Someone in the party said something about Will- 
iam the Third. The guide smiled and said there had never 
yet been a William the Third, the last Kaiser being William 
the Second. I asked, "Will there ever be a William the 
Third?" The guide wisely refrained from committing him- 
self, merely replying, "Who knows?" But if I get the atti- 
tude of the German people aright, there will never again be a 
Kaiser to live in this palace. 

In the Temple of Antiques, where are kept all the treasures, 
we saw the grave of the Kaiserin who died about five years 
ago. On it were fresh flowers and wreaths which prove that 
she is not forgotten. 

From the New Palace we went to the Palace of Sans Souci. 
The words means, "free from care." I doubt, however, if any of 
its royal inmates ever realized this ideal. The instant one looks 
at this palace, one realizes that it has been modeled after Ver- 
sailles. It is on a much smaller scale. It is older than the 
New Palace and colder and more poignantly breathing the 
spirit of the past. William the First built it about 1745. The 
New Palace was built 1763 to 1769. Although Frederick the 
Great built the New Palace, he lived chiefly in the old. Here 
in a room which was once his bedchamber stands an ancient 



18 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

armchair in which on August 17, 1786, at two o'clock in the 
morning died the man who made the Prussian Empire a unity 
and instilled into it that military spirit which in the past ten 
years has changed the geography of Europe and made the most 
startling history the world has yet known. 

Everywhere in both these palaces are the rarest treasures 
of art: vases, shells, gems, cups, musical instruments. In Sans 
Souci is a small theatre. The royal family gave, or rather were 
given, plays there. The last one was given in 1912, shortly 
before the war, in honor of some royal guests. 

For two days after my visit to Potsdam, I seemed to be 
living in another world, where royal ladies and their nobles 
played and laughed and sorrowed and died. Herein are we 
all kin. The monarch on his throne and the peasant at his 
toil; death claims us all and makes us one. 

So you see I am slowly, oh! so slowly, getting educated. 
But when I see these guides I know that I never really will 
know anything. 

On Sunday evening we went to hear Beethoven's "Fidelio." 
I cannot understand why these old German operas are not 
given in America. To me they are marvelous, and they are 
given here with an accuracy of detail and a beauty of setting 
which makes them remarkable presentations even though I do 
not always like German singing. However, "Fidelio" had a 
wonderful soprano, Wildbrunn by name, and a fine tenor, 
Karl Oestvig, the best I have heard here. 

I hope this letter will not bore you. I am, 

Yours with the love of my heart, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Monday, October 4, 1926 

Dear Friends: 

On Saturday evening we went to the Staedtische Oper 
(which you will recall is the municipal opera house, and the 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 19 

one where at present the finest work is done) to hear the 
Russian opera "Pique Dame," by Tschaikowsky. The work 
is one of the most remarkable which I have ever heard. The 
name of Tschaikowsky is sufficient guarantee that the orches- 
tral parts of the opera would be wonderful in themselves, 
reaching many times the dignity of symphonic composition. 
But unlike most composers whose fame rests on their orches- 
tral works, the vocal score is almost equally marvelous and 
extremely well adapted to exploit the gifts of the singer. 

The artists in this case were utterly equal to the demands 
of the composition, a thing which I have not before been able 
to say. The soprano, Beata Malkin, has a glorious dramatic 
voice and is an actress of unusual ability. The tenor, Karl 
Martin Oehman, is comparatively new even here, but he was 
simply marvelous. He is one of the finest dramatic tenors 
I have ever heard, and he is, moreover, an actor of such gifts 
as would make him great if he had no voice. 

The title role "Pique Dame" is really not a singing part, 
but it is one which makes tremendous demands dramatically 
and Marie Schultz did some Bernhardt work, I assure you. 
One laugh, which she gave at a climactic moment, turned your 
blood to ice. Again I cry "Why, why do we never hear these 
marvelous German and Russian operas in America? Why is 
our operatic horizon bounded on the north by Rigoletto, on 
the south by Lucia, on the east by Pagliacci, and on the west 
by Butterfly?" Certainly the four operas I have heard here 
are musically and dramatically utterly worthy of presentation 
anywhere. 

On Sunday morning, we went to the Haupt Probe (open 
rehearsal) of the Philharmonic Orchestra. This rehearsal 
takes place at eleven-thirty on Sunday mornings, and is at- 
tended by all students and many others, the subscription con- 
certs being given on Monday evenings. The Philharmonic Or- 
chestra does not, like our orchestras, have one single conductor. 
There is so much conductor material lying around here that an 
orchestra can have two or three and, therefore, one hears works 
given from the angle of more than one conductor's conception 



20 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

of them. This time we had Bruno Walter, who, by the way, 
conducted "Pique Dame" the night before. 

I imagine that the Saal Philharmonie, in which the con- 
certs are held, might seat about fifteen hundred persons. This 
is purely a guess; I have not yet been able to find anyone who 
seems to really speak with the authority of knowledge. Every 
seat was taken and the floor in front of us was literally covered 
with people who sat there for the whole concert. They are 
not allowed to stand; if they have no seats they must sit on 
the floor. 

The first number was a suite by a comparatively new com- 
poser, Schreker, called "Geburstag der Infantin," the Birthday 
of the Princess. Unlike much extremely modern music (at 
least as I hear it) this suite was charming. The composer was 
in the audience and was called for most enthusiastically. 

The second number was a motet by Mozart, the one end- 
ing with that marvelous and almost inachievable Hallelujah. 
It was given by Ivogun and the orchestra. Ivogun, as you 
doubtless know, is a coloratura soprano of the very first rank. 
To me, indeed, her voice is one of the most beautiful of its 
class. For one thing, she sings on pitch which cannot always 
be said of coloratura sopranos. Furthermore, she has a most 
beautiful middle register and does not have to depend for her 
appeal on either her vocal gymnastics or exploitation of a few 
high notes. The Mozart number gave her marvelous oppor- 
tunities which she met with a technique and a vocal endow- 
ment which was utterly satisfying. 

The last number was the Schubert C Major Symphony, 
beautifully rendered. These Germans do not patronize music, 
they worship it. To them it is the very expression of the 
divine. The silence is so intense that in any pause of the 
orchestra, it seems to rest upon you like a velvet hand. Their 
enthusiasm at the close of a number or a programme is the 
most spontaneous, delightful thing I have ever witnessed. To 
them the classics are sacred, the orchestra or artist a thing 
to be listened to with bated breath, and the conductor a hero 
to be worshiped and applauded. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 21 

Last evening I went with my German teacher to a meeting 
of a German-English Club called "The Longfellow Club." 
This is organized by the Germans for the purpose of studying 
the English language and literature. The first part of the 
programme was taken up by a review of an English book, 
given by a lady of rather ordinary ability, which was followed 
by a discussion of the book by the members of the club. The 
one who spoke English the worst did it so many thousand 
times better than I speak German that I have nothing what- 
ever to say. To be sure, one man did coin a word. He was 
speaking of the religious character of the book which had 
been reviewed, and he said the "religiosity." But then, why 
should there not be such a word as religiosity? Words just 
happen anyway. The simplicity and earnestness with which 
these Germans approach all things is refreshing after the 
struggle one has to induce the American young person to 
think at all. 

Next Sunday, Furtwaengler directs the Philharmonic, and 
I am awaiting his message. 

My young lady is obliged to go for a few days to Poland 
to visit some relatives there, and I look forward with some 
trepidation to a week alone. However, my dear little maid, 
Mitzi, is so kind that I am sure I shall not have any real diffi- 
culties. Also, my dear German teacher, Fraulein Heilbrun, 
is already planning to walk with me. To be with this gentle, 
cultured German lady is an education not only linguistically 
but in many other ways. 

I am wafting my loving good night to all of you so far, 
far across the sea. 

Yours always, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Monday, October 11, 1926 

With my young soprano far away in Poland, life has been 
rather less gay this past week for the old maid chaperone. 



22 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Yesterday morning, however, I went with a nice American girl, 
who lives in the Pension and is the wife of a young Theologue 
who has a scholarship over here, to hear the usual Sunday 
Symphony. 

This time the conductor was Furtwaengler who last year 
was heard in this capacity a good deal in New York. His 
general style and interpretation are quite different from that of 
Bruno Walter, and, in fact, from any conductor I have ever 
heard. The most outstanding feature of his conducting is his 
marvelous pianissimo of which he seems very fond and which 
is sometimes so delicate as to be almost inaudible. 

The programme was first the lovely "Freischiitz Over- 
ture," by Weber, which was exquisitely done. Then a modern 
thing by Honegger which I hated. It was so funny. The 
ultra-modernists in the audience clapped and the classicists 
hissed after it was over. I did not hiss, but I certainly felt 
somewhat in sympathy with those who did, although I do not 
think that a nice way of expressing disapproval. 

The third number was the lovely "Lalo" Symphony for 
orchestra and solo violinist with the French artist Thibaud. 
He played beautifully, but I felt that the applause lacked spon- 
taneity and I must admit that it seemed to me this was due 
to his French name. I would like to feel that this were not 
true since there should surely be no nationalism in the world 
of art, but I could not but feel that had his name been 
Schwarz he would have been received with more enthusiasm. 

The programme ended with the Brahms "Second Symphony 
D Major." And here, more than elsewhere, I felt the indi- 
vidualism of Furtwaengler' s interpretation. He played the 
whole three first movements with an intense repression which 
resulted in a piano and pianissimo that to me was almost 
monotonous. The last movement, of course, was more cli- 
mactic, but even there, it seemed to me that he held the forte 
in check. There is one thing which I observe here: namely, 
that their programme arrangement is exactly opposite to ours. 
They put the lighter numbers at the beginning and end with 
the heavy symphony. I really cannot help thinking that our 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 23 

custom of putting the Symphony first and the lighter numbers 
after, grading toward the finish, is better psychology. A 
Brahms symphony of four long movements at the end of a 
lengthy programme requires a prolonged mental concentration 
which for poor me, at least, is difficult, and even in an audience 
largely German, I thought I could detect signs of restlessness 
toward the end. But perhaps this was only on the part of us 
poor American students who have not been trained to five- 
hour operas and three-hour concerts. 

My youngster should be at home tomorrow, and I shall 
be glad although everyone in the Pension has been wonder- 
fully kind to me, and I have walked every day. 



Monday, October 18, 1926 

Last evening we had a most interesting experience. We 
heard Richard Strauss conduct one of his own operas, "Der 
Rosen Kavalier." The impression made upon me by the work 
was almost that of a beautiful diamond in a cheap and un- 
worthy setting, or better, perhaps, a gorgeous gown on the 
shapeless shoulders of a peasant. The libretto seems to me 
rather unworthy of the beautiful music which Strauss has set 
to it. 

There is, of course, in the humor of all these German 
operas, nothing of subtlety or finesse. It is bald, childlike, 
and perfectly apparent. But the simple music of Mozart be- 
fits its spirit as the complex harmonies and modern recitative 
of Strauss do not seem to me to do. I may, of course, be al- 
together wrong. This is merely the impression which "Der 
Rosen Kavalier" made upon me. The Germans adore Strauss, 
and he was wildly applauded. He is extremely modest and 
seemed to hate to come before the curtain to make acknowl- 
edgement. 



24 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Monday, October 25, 1926 

Yesterday morning we had a breath from home. Edna 
Thomas, that most charming southern woman and most artistic 
of all singers of her class, gave a programme of Negro Spirit- 
uals and Creole Songs. It was utterly delightful, so much so 
that we have gotten together a party from the Pension and are 
going again this evening. If you have not heard her, do so 
the next time she comes your way. I am not her advertising 
agent, by the way. 

I am yours with love, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Tuesday, November 2, 1926 

At last we have achieved the carrying out of a plan which 
we have had for weeks, namely, the spending of a week-end 
at Dresden. We left Berlin Friday afternoon about 1:20. 

I am certainly fortunate in having as a traveling com- 
panion a small lady who attracts to herself interest as the 
magnet draws steel. We met the most intelligent and charm- 
ing man who sat in our compartment and talked all the way. 
He had been in Berlin attending a convention of the American 
McCormick interests. He is from Budapest and has charge 
of the McCormick interests for a large European territory. 
He is German by nativity but has lived much of his life in 
Hungary. Having worked for American concerns, he speaks 
English beautifully although he has never been in America. 

He told us more wonderful things about Budapest than I 
had ever dreamed of, so much, in fact, that I am now eager 
to visit that city of which before I had never thought. It is 
only about four hours from Vienna, and is much larger than 
I had supposed, having a population of about a million. The 
gentleman's name was Gellner, and of course his interest was 
for the young and fair, but he talked, just by way of con- 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 25 

versation, to the old maid chaperone. Of all the European 
cities, there is none of which I knew less than of Budapest 
and he made me feel that not to know Budapest was not to 
know one of the most worth-while places of the Old World. 

I question whether there is on this old planet a cleaner 
spot than Dresden-on-Elba. Its cleanliness hits you between 
the eyes, as it were, the moment you leave the train. Dresden 
is divided into two distinct parts by the river Elba, that famous 
stream of which Napoleon said "able was I ere I saw Elba." 
The older and larger portion of the city is called Alter Stadt, 
and the other, naturally, Neuer Stadt. There are five large 
stone bridges which connect the one with the other. In com- 
ing from Berlin, one reaches Neuer Stadt first. But one does 
not stop tiiere; at least we did not, but went on to the Alter 
Stadt, where are located all the Art Galleries and other points 
of interest. In summer the approach must be beautiful. In 
fact, we were at a great disadvantage to have seen Dresden 
in the winter. The Grosser Garten and the river, as well 
as many other things, must be much more beautiful in summer. 

We stopped at a hotel called the Union. It was very 
lovely: good food and nice rooms. It is an old building, I 
fancy. In fact, it seems to me that there has not been a new 
building in either Dresden or Berlin for twenty-five years. But 
of course, there has. Our Berlin Pension is thirty-five at least. 
We had rooms at the hotel up under the gabled roof, large 
and quaint. One thing which made us feel immediately at 
home was the fact that everybody round the place, from the 
Bell Boy to the Manager, spoke most excellent English. In 
fact, nearly every one in Dresden seemed to know our language 
more or less. The hotel manager told us that this year, dur- 
ing the months of August and September, he entertained over 
1500 Americans. Of course, Dresden is one German city 
which tourists never fail to see because of its marvelous art 
treasures. 

Dresden is the capital of Saxony, and has been reigned 
over for two centuries by the joint kings of Saxony and Poland. 

I never before realized how utterly ignorant I am. I can- 



26 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

not understand the history or the relationship of these German 
provinces. They seem to be independent and to have their 
own rulers, and yet, to be in some way tributary to the Kaiser 
and the centralized government. Saxony really belongs to Ger- 
many, and yet some of its rulers, dukes they were called, have 
also been kings of Poland. Its last duke was Frederick Augustus. 
He reigned from 1902 to 1918, that is, until the close of the 
World War. Saxony seems to have had three great rulers, 
all Augusts. August der Starke (the strong), was the most 
notable of these kings, but all three seem to have been lovers 
of every form of art and the collections which they made are 
today in the museums of Dresden, and constitute probably the 
richest and most marvelous art collections in the world; at 
least, of certain kinds. 

Dresden is the home of the wonderful Meissen china, often 
spoken of as Dresden china, although it is really manufactured 
at factories near Meissen, about one hour's ride from Dresden. 
We wanted so much to visit the factories but could not do so 
in the short two days allotted to our visit. For richness of 
coloring, delicacy of texture and quaint and exquisite shaping, 
I suppose there is no china in the world equal to the Meissen 
china. There are those who like Haviland better, but of 
course, that is merely a matter of taste. 

We spent Saturday morning in the picture gallery. At last I 
approached the one subject regarding which I have hitherto felt 
myself to be at a hopeless disadvantage. Pictures are for those 
who see with the eye, or at least, so I have always supposed. 
Because I felt hopelessly handicapped regarding them, I have 
made little effort to understand them. To my amazement, I 
found that as they were described to me, they made upon me 
a most vivid impression. Miss Cadkin had never before seen a 
great art gallery. She has had no opportunity to know pic- 
tures, and was able to tell me literally only what her eye 
saw. Yet I found that my imagination instantly grasped the 
content of a picture, often supplying details which she had 
failed to see, but which when I suggested them, she found 
to be right. I cannot explain it, but somehow I think that 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 27 

it is the result of that wonderful night at Versailles which I 
call my color birth, and which seems to have unveiled to me 
a new wonder world of vision. 

Any great picture gallery is a place in which, not hours, 
but weeks must be spent if one would really know it. 

The greatest Dutch, Flemish, and German artists are repre- 
sented in the Dresden gallery, sometimes by works which seem 
almost grotesque. One picture showed a table with food upon 
it. There was a kuchen already cut. It was not beautiful, but 
it was so vivid that you wanted to eat it and thought you 
could. However, if I were a painter, I would choose another 
subject. 

There was one picture which affected me strangely. It was 
called "Lowen Jagd" or "Lion Hunt." Some men on horses 
were chasing lions and the beasts had turned upon them and 
were become pursuers instead of the pursued. It was dread- 
ful to see them killing men and horses. 

However, by far the larger number of all the pictures, dat- 
ing back as they did to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, were 
based on one of two themes, Grecian Mythology or the stories 
of the Bible. The Holy Family was, perhaps, more often the 
theme than any other, and the conceptions of Christ and of 
the Holy Mother were as many and varied as were the artists 
who painted them. 

The works of the different artists were grouped together 
so that one could study the characteristics of each. The Rubens 
and Rembrandt collections seemed to me the most beautiful, 
always excepting the one supreme treasure of the gallery. The 
treasure round which everything else centers and which has 
a room entirely its own, namely, the Sistine Madonna of 
Raphael. This picture, to many minds the greatest of the 
world's great madonnas, is the pride of Dresden. Before it 
we stood, as did others, for almost an hour, in silent awe. 
The supreme spell of the picture is in the eyes. Wherever you 
stand, they follow you, wistful, questioning, as if they im- 
plored you to solve life's mystery of sorrow. The picture en- 
folds you like a presence. The beauty of all maternity from 



28 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

that of the Divine Mother to that of the mother who rocked 
you on her breast seems to be breathed into and about you. 
No theme of Grecian mythology has any such potency, nor 
can any other cast such a spell over art as is in-woven with 
every conception of the Holy Mother and her human Divine 
Son. 

No subject of the Grecian mythology seemed to be so popu- 
lar as Diana and her Nymphs. They sported somewhere on 
almost every wall, and gave dash and gaiety to the scene. 

Because these collections were made by the three Augusts, 
they seem to be wanting in modern, impressionistic art. Per- 
haps they are none the worse for that. 

We spent Sunday morning at what is known as "Gruene 
Gewoelbe" or "Green Vault." In spite of its name, it is 
neither green nor yet is it a vault in the sense of being under- 
ground. It acquired the term green because the walls of the 
eld treasury were decorated in this color. This is really a col- 
lection of stone rooms under the Schloss or castle of Dresden, 
where the Saxon kings held winter court. The castle itself 
is not on exhibition. I imagine that it is no longer beautiful, 
and that all its art treasures, the most costly in Germany, are 
in these rooms. 

The first of these chambers contains jewel caskets of every 
variety and of indescribable beauty. Many of these are of 
Chinese workmanship. They are many-mirrored and studded 
with precious stones of every kind. 

Of the beauty and magnificence of this priceless collection 
of ivories, mosaics, enamels, and costly jewels, I can give you 
no adequate conception. 

The ivories fascinated us. There were entire scenes done 
in ivory. Men on horseback, the muscles of arms and limbs 
and even the wrinkles or creases in the body as it turned, 
clearly visible. Some of these were carved, some molded. 
The carved ivory tables were marvelously wrought and inlaid 
with precious stones. August the Strong seems to have been 
a great art collector and to him Dresden owes the larger part 
of these treasures, and everywhere, both in the art gallery and 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 29 

in the Gruene Gewoelbe, are representations of him on his 
horse. 

In one room were glasses and drinking cups of gold, 
studded with gems. Here also are kept the Saxon Crown 
Jewels. But the one thing that fascinated us most was in the Sil- 
ver Room. It is a Hindu court scene, entirely wrought in silver. 
The guide told us that in this group there are five thousand, 
five hundred tiny figures. The Rajah and his Queen sit on a 
dai's and there are slaves, courtiers, ladies-in-waiting, in fact, 
every conceivable adjunct of a court scene. There are plat- 
forms with tiny stairways and some of the figures are in the 
act of climbing these. They are all so small and so marvelously 
perfect that they look like fairy folk. It took fourteen men 
eight years to create this marvel of workmanship and it is 
German wrought. 

In the Copper Room the entire middle portion of the wall 
was made of copper panels. A few of the tables I managed 
to touch, but the guards, of whom there is one in each room, 
watch you so closely that it was not easy to play that great 
American game of "putting something over." 

Among the Crown Jewels is one of the largest diamonds 
known to the world. These of course, were carefully encased, 
but I did not regret being unable to touch them, since they did 
not intrigue me half as much as the ivories and enamels. 
Never having possessed jewels, I suppose I lack appreciation 
of them. The things wrought from beautiful materials by 
the hands of men appeal to me much more. 

The Dresden Opera is supposed to be the best in Germany. 
At least, Richard Strauss has all his premier performances 
there, if that signifies anything. I wanted so much to hear 
them present a "really for truly" German opera, but just here, 
our luck fairy, who is usually right on the job, must have 
gone to sleep, for instead of "Der Freischiitz" or "Magic 
Flute," or any of my beloved German operas, they gave 
"Turandot." 

We all know "Turandot" as the opera on which Puccini 
was working when he died, and which Toscanini gave to some- 



30 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

one else to finish. The story is Chinese, and Puccini has en- 
deavored to set it to what is his conception of Chinese music. 
Frankly, I hated it. It is all blare of brasses and roll of drums. 
Vocally, unlike everything else Puccini ever wrote, it is utterly 
unsingable. Perhaps I should not express an opinion, having 
heard it but once, especially when that presentation was in 
German, instead of in the Italian in which the libretto was 
written. But it would need to appeal to me much more, in 
its original language, before I could really like it. The com- 
pany composing the cast did not seem to me remarkable. 
Though I realize that I should suspend judgment because, as 
I have said before, I think the German singers present German 
opera better than they do those translated into German. So, 
on the whole, I heard Dresden opera at every disadvantage. 

On Monday morning, we went to the Porcelain Gallery. 
But first we stopped at the warehouse where the products of 
the Meissen factory are sold. They make every conceivable 
kind of thing out of porcelain, notably the most varied and 
charming animals. There were great lions on beautiful porce- 
lain standards, adorable sheep whose china wool you would 
have declared to be real. I touched one and he felt exactly 
like a sheep, only he was cold. There were the darlingest 
ducks and birdies and swans and lovely little shepherdesses 
that I wanted to kiss. The very tiniest of these cost a fortune, 
so I am not going to bring one of them to you, though I 
certainly did want to. The smallest cups and saucers cost six 
dollars a piece, so you won't get them either, Old Dears. 
There were cunning imitations of them in the shops, but, alas! 
they were only imitations. 

From the warehouse we went to the gallery where are pre- 
served the treasures of porcelain which belonged to the Saxon 
kings. Here again, August the Strong was much in evidence. 
There were entire scenes, done in porcelain, of August on his 
horse with soldiers all about him. 

Before we saw these, however, we passed through two 
rooms which contain priceless collections of Chinese and Japa- 
nese porcelain. I really never knew that the Chinese were so 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 31 

artistic. The colorings are unlike anything which we know, 
blues so exquisite as to be like an atmosphere, blues which we 
never see anywhere, and yet so intensely blue that they seem 
tinted of the very sky itself. Every variety and shape of great 
vase and water jar was there, in most exquisite coloring. There 
were cups and saucers on quaint standards. Oh! Here again 
I feel helpless to give you any real idea of its beauty and 
wonder. 

In the collection of Meissen, there is one thing which stands 
out vividly. Namely, a representation of the entire scene of 
the crucifixion, Christ on the cross with the accompanying 
figures standing or kneeling. The Holy Mother was there, 
and the three chief Apostles, the Roman Centurion, the mob, 
and the very grass on which the scene was enacted. I touched 
that, and it was china so fine as to be like a thread. 

My second vivid impression was a scene done not in 
Meissen but in French porcelain, and was a gift of Napoleon 
to one of the Saxon Augusts. It is a scene depicting Napoleon 
on a horse with wounded soldiers all about him. You could 
see that they were wounded, just as clearly as if it had been 
a painting instead of a creation in china. 

Everywhere, in painting, in ivory, in porcelain, the one 
Figure and its supreme sacrifice for men was enshrined. Alas, 
that the twentieth century so fails to enshrine Him in the heart. 
Everywhere the art which He inspires is the noblest and 
supremest. 

There were many other things in Dresden which I should 
have loved to see. But they were mostly in the environs, and 
took more time to reach than we could spend. 

We returned home last evening. These European trains 
move about as rapidly as a third season Ford, and of course 
we were late. When we reached our Pension, very weary and 
dreading the task of unlocking the various doors, which bar 
our entrance, and of carrying our suitcase up the three flights 
of stairs, there, like a good angel, stood our dear little Ger- 
man maid waiting for us. I felt as if I really had a home. 
Her name is Mitzi, and she is just a dear. 



32 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

I feel that of all the places which I have seen, I have 
done least justice to Dresden, partly because its treasures 
beggar the powers of speech, and partially because we could 
find no English guide and so were able to see them less intel- 
ligently. I can only hope that I have given you some faint 
idea what it is like. 

The little shops are delightful, filled with all sorts of 
quaint little things: china animals in imitation of the Meissen 
and charming brasses and ivories. The people who own them 
are so courteous, and speak a quaint, broken, but wholly ap- 
pealing English. Incidentally, at the hotel we had real Amer- 
ican coffee with cream. Do you wonder that Dresden en- 
deared itself to my heart? 

So once more we have seen one of my Cities of Dreams, 
and the reality was more beautiful than the dream. I hope 
that I have shared it with you at least a little. I am now and 
always yours, with tenderest love, 

Almeda C. Adams 

P. S. Dresden has 605,000 people, but not like Berlin 
610,000 dogs, unless I except the china ones. 



Berlin, 
Monday, November 15, 1926 

Yesterday was another of our red letter days. In the 
morning we went to hear a presentation of the Beethoven 
Ninth Symphony, and in the evening we heard Weber's "Der 
Freischiitz" at the Staedtische Oper. 

Right here and now I am going to make a confession, even 
though, in so doing, I shatter such regard for my musicianship 
as you may have been kind enough to entertain. I have always, 
deep in my heart, thought the Beethoven Ninth a bit heavy 
and dull. Perhaps I should not have the courage to make this 
damaging admission if I did not now feel that the responsi- 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 33 

bility was not wholly mine but must be shared by the con- 
ductors who have been to me its medium of expression. Cer- 
tainly there was nothing dull or uninteresting about the Ninth 
Symphony as rendered yesterday morning by Dr. Ernst Kun- 
wald, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra 
was assisted in the finale by two singing societies and a quar- 
tette of most efficient soloists. The only impression which the 
choral parts of the Ninth Symphony has ever made upon 
me is that of being utterly unsingable and presenting such 
vocal difficulties as to render them practically impossible. 
These Germans sing them as if they had learned them in kin- 
dergarten. They give the impression of being simple folk 
melodies, as in fact they largely are. For one thing, Schiller's 
"Ode to Joy" is much more effective sung in German, as is, 
of course, always true of any work heard in its original tongue. 

Dr. Kunwald brought out every theme of the composition 
with crystal clarity until I wondered how I could ever have 
thought it involved or difficult to comprehend. In the final 
movement he achieved a pianissimo of the basses that was 
indescribably beautiful. It sounded as if the basses were not 
in the room but came from a remote distance. I have never 
heard anything like it. I left the Saal Philharmonie feeling 
that the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven was not only a great 
composition but was also clear and perfectly comprehensible, 
and, incidentally, that Dr. Kunwald was a marvelous Beetho- 
ven interpreter. 

"Der Freischiitz" is regarded as Weber's greatest work. 
Like all these old German operas, it has spoken parts and the 
dialogue is much too detailed and drawn out to suit our 
modern taste. These operas leave nothing to the imagination. 
They seem to feel that you must be told every smallest detail 
of the story. However, the music of "Der Freischiitz" is 
charming, and it more than once prefigures the dramatic reci- 
tative of Wagner, especially in the second scene of the second 
act, the scene in the Wolf Schlucht, or wolf's hole. Of 
course, in the main, the opera is written in the old melodic 
style and the melodies are charming. But, that the genius 



34 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

of Weber influenced the greater genius of Wagner, seems to 
me beyond question. 

Human progress along artistic, as well as other, lines, 
often, it would seem, has its inception in the blind gropings 
of some great soul after a truth which he neither realizes nor 
comprehends, but whose dim foreshadowings in his work be- 
come the dawn of realization to some other great soul in the 
generations that follow. Thus, no travail of a human soul in 
its quest for truth is ever in vain, even though the quest fail, 
since it serves to point the trail which leads to the truth's 
ultimate discovery. 

Enough philosophizing for tonight. Good night, dear 
friends. 

Almeda C. Adams 



November 24, 1926 

One day last week we took a vacation, a thing which we 
seldom allow ourselves these days, for my young lady is work- 
ing intensively. The luxury of a day off was justified by two 
facts. First, our coach was ill, and therefore we had no les- 
sons for several days. Secondly, I was not myself feeling quite 
up to the mark, whatever the mark may be. In Germany it is 
about twenty-four cents, but my valuation was, I am sure, 
not more than five. 

Thus it was that on Thursday morning we took a street car 
and went to a suburb of Berlin known as "Griinewald" 
(Green Forest). This is the fashionable residence section of 
the city. My German teacher says that the Green Forest really 
surrounds Berlin, and can be reached from anywhere in the 
city in a half hour or so. This portion of it is where the 
beautiful estates are to be found. The grounds all slope down 
to the forest. This forest is real woods, and is everywhere 
dotted with tiny lakes. Thus each estate has its own small 
lake and boat house. The day was perfect Indian summer, 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 35 

and the forest was beautiful beyond words. I had not dreamed 
that there was anything like it in Berlin. 

There is a very large restaurant in Griinewald known as 
"Hunde-kehle" (dog's throat) ; it does not sound inviting, but 
I assure you it was most delightful. On the outside, the res- 
taurant has two large statues of reindeer and no dog at all. 
I assume that the dog must have chased the reindeer and gone 
to sleep inside. In summer this restaurant must be crowded, 
but the day we were there we found only a few people. 

Among the guests was a most interesting German family. 
The father was not very young, but was extremely fine-looking. 
The mother was much younger, and very beautiful. They had 
two adorable little girls, twins of seven years. I ached to get 
hold of them, and finally took my nerve in my hand, as it were, 
and asked the parents if I might see them. One was very 
quiet while the other chattered and laughed but always in a 
low, sweet voice. They ate what was given them with no 
accompanying teasing or whining. In short, they had perfect 
manners. 

These German children are adorable, and they are certainly 
beautifully brought up. This is true not only of those who 
come, as these children evidently did, from families of culture 
and wealth, but it is equally true of the plainly dressed young- 
sters you meet in stores and on the street. 

After lunch, which, by the way, ended with a cup of deli- 
cious coffee and real cream, we walked in the forest. I dipped 
my hands in the water in the little lake, and climbed a hill, and 
altogether had a beautiful time, as a result of which I felt 
much better. 

Sunday morning I went to the American Church. It is pre- 
sided over by a dear and gentle old man named Dickey. He 
was here when the church was built, and his life and money 
have made it what it is. He preached a nice American 
Thanksgiving sermon, and we sang all the home hymns. 

In the evening we went to hear "Parsifal." This is our 
first experience of Wagner opera since we came to Germany. 
Spectacularly, they have not the facilities for presenting this 



36 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

marvelous work which we have at the Metropolitan in New 
York, but there is in their rendition something indescribable 
which I have never felt in America. To them, "Parsifal" is 
not an opera, a spectacle; it is a worship. Sunday was their 
Memorial Day for their dead, national and personal, and 
"Parsifal" was for them a part of its solemn ceremonial. 
There was almost no applause and the silence throughout the 
long five hours was so intense as to be felt. Altogether, 
although I have heard "Parsifal" three times before, this was 
an unique and unforgettable experience. 

Last night we heard "Das Rheingold," that most delightful 
and appealing of all the operas which constitute the Ring. 
Wagner is to these Germans as the breath of life, and they sing 
and play his operas with "eine herzlichkeit" which is a revela- 
tion of its deeper meanings. You do not witness a spectacle, 
you become for the time being, a dweller in that world of gods 
and goddesses, of giants and dwarfs, wherein Wagner dwelt 
when he wrote. 

It is true that when the Metropolitan presents the Wagner 
operas it employs, in the main, German singers. Perhaps the 
difference in atmosphere which I certainly vividly feel is as 
much due to the attitude of the audiences as to the work of the 
artists themselves. 

Sunday night we are going to hear "Lohengrin." We do 
not usually indulge in so much opera in one week, but hitherto 
we have not heard Wagner, and as our stay in Berlin is more 
or less uncertain, we feel that we should rush our opportunities, 
as it were. 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I am thinking tenderly and 
longingly of you all at home. I am thankful for three things. 
First, for the wider culture, musically and otherwise, which I 
hope this supreme opportunity is giving me. Secondly, that 
my patriotism is being broadened and deepened by an ever- 
growing sense of world citizenship. Thirdly, and above all, 
for the knowledge that you, my dear friends, still think of and 
love me. Without that knowledge, even this wonderful ex- 
perience could not make life worth while. If I can only bring 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 37 

back to you something vital and beautiful out of this deeper 
contact with life, then, indeed, will it be abundantly blessed. 

Yours always, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Berlin, Germany, 

December 6, 1926 



Dear Friends: 



I have just listened to an opera which is, to my mind, the 
strangest ever written, namely, Richard Strauss's "Electra." 
Although it is nearly twelve o'clock, I must get "Electra" out 
of my system before I can hope to sleep. The opera is based 
on the blackest and wildest of Greek tragedies, which seems 
to be without a single touch of human tenderness or beauty to 
redeem its horror. The music, it must be admitted, is an 
admirable vehicle for its expression; but to me, it seems like 
trailing the robes of the divinest of the arts into the dust, to 
link it with such a theme. Of course, the orchestral parts 
display all the skill and genius of the man whom many regard 
as our greatest living composer; but if the first essential of 
all art is beauty, then "Electra" seems without reason for being. 
There be those who would tell us that the first mission of art 
is to be a medium for human expression. But there are so 
many other means by which the low and unlovely finds ex- 
pression that it does not seem necessary to degrade art to this 
purpose. Altogether, I can but feel that the world of music 
would be no poorer if "Electra" had never been written. 



December 7, 1926 

After that outburst, I went to bed, though not to sleep. 
Our Thanksgiving dinner was a very pleasant little affair. We 
had toasts and sang and ate; not an American Thanksgiving 



38 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

dinner, it is true, but as nearly like one as our kind Frau 
Stoessinger knew how to make it. I sat beside a young 
theologue and I am sure that was not one of his reasons for 
being thankful. However, he concealed the fact heroically. I 
made one of those 'prophecies in rhyme" which often seem to 
be a part of such an affair, and told them all what was going 
to become of them ten years from now. The fact that I am 
still alive to tell the tale proves their generosity. 

Christmas is in the air. Everywhere the shops are deco- 
rated and everywhere people are rushing about, package-laden. 
It seems almost like home. Almost — but to me, not really, 
because I am so far away from all of you whom I so love. In 
Germany, Christmas is, indeed, the children's festival, and the 
dolls and toys are wonderful; and everywhere is the star. The 
Germans never forget that Christmas is indeed the Christ's 
day. I wish we were as vividly conscious of its deeper 
meaning. 

December 9, 1926 

Today we had a most interesting experience. We visited 
a factory where are employed one hundred blind workers. 
These were largely men, but there were a few women. The 
employment of the blind in industrial plants, together with the 
sighted, is purely an outgrowth of the war, and was under- 
taken solely to aid the blinded sodiers. Now, however, it has 
extended to the civilian blind. 

The gentleman in charge of the blind workers in this vast 
concern is devoted to them, and serves them in every con- 
ceivable way. Nor will he ever allow the slightest insinuation 
that they do not do their work as well as their sighted comrades. 
Of course, the number of processes possible to them is limited. 
The concern is one of the largest electrical plants in Germany, 
and employs hundreds of people. Just now, like every other 
industry, it is suffering greatly from the business depression, 
but the gentleman in charge told me that they would keep their 
blind employees at any cost. It seems that there is in Ger- 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 39 

many, since the war, a law compelling every manufacturer to 
employ one war-disabled for every twenty normal employees, 
or some such proportion. But they would not, of course, be 
compelled to employ the civilian blind. 

My admiration for this sane, serious, practical people grows 
with every new contact. They have assumed the heavy burden 
of debt and loss which the war has imposed with a silent, un- 
complaining courage which one can but admire. The German 
gospel has two great commandments: "Thou shalt obey right- 
ful authority" and "Thou shalt never, under any circumstances, 
be a coward." It was their loyalty to the first which kept 
them in the war for four years with all the odds against them. 
Even when they faced utter defeat they would have remained 
loyal to the man who, to them, represented constituted 
authority, if he had not himself violated the second. When 
Kaiser Wilhelm ran away in the night, he forever branded 
himself a coward in the eyes of the German people. This they 
could not forgive. Then, and not till then, was their inherent 
loyalty to their sovereign broken. 

I asked a gentleman of great intelligence this question: 
"How is it that Von Hindenburg, who had been so utterly 
the Kaiser's man, could now be the trusted head of the German 
government and be worthy of that trust?" His reply seemed 
to me to throw much light upon the German character. He 
said: 

"Because Von Hindenburg is a German and a soldier, and 
has that inbred loyalty to authority which characterizes every 
such. When that authority was vested in the Kaiser, he was 
utterly loyal to it. Now that it comes from the German people 
themselves, he brings to it an equal loyalty, and we all know 
that we can trust him to the death." 

Whatever the German soldier may have done through this 
sometimes mistaken ideal of loyalty, I find them a kindly, 
lovable, intelligent, and deeply thoughtful people. In small 
externals, they have, it is true, less polish than the French. 
They present, like all other peoples, many types, some of 
which are crude, some refined. But they have a rugged 



40 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

strength, a stern sense of duty, and withal, a childlike simplicity 
which I love. 

After all, are we not all of one family? And as the 
Christmas star draws us all to worship at the manger, should 
we not join hands around the cradle of the Prince of Peace and 
pledge our lives to the cause of peace in this old world of 
ours? So it is that across the sea, I place one hand in that of 
Germany and the other in that of my own beloved land that 
we may all keep Christmas together in love and faith and 
brotherhood. 

Good night, and a happy Christmas to you all. 

Almeda C. Adams 

Monday, December 20, 1926 
My Dear, Dear Friends: 

This is the very first time since I began to write you the 
happenings of this marvelous experience that I find myself 
behind with my story. For the past week or two, it has seemed 
impossible to write. For one thing, I have had a series of dates 
with the dentist, and I find him just the same time-consuming 
and peace-destroying being that he is in America. In fact, if 
anything, he requires more time here, for the German dentist is 
the most painstaking and deliberate person in the world. 
Indeed, I am more and more impressed with the fact that 
German efficiency of which we have heard so much consists in 
being absolutely accurate, in having infinite regard for detail 
and an utter lack of regard for how much time this attention 
to detail consumes. 

In addition to the hours spent at the dentist's, we are 
doing the thousand and one last things that you keep thinking 
all the time that you will do but never achieve till the date of 
your departure is actually set. Then suddenly you begin to 
realize that you have failed to see and do much that you really 
must accomplish. We are, at present, at just this stage of the 
game. 

We leave Berlin next Monday, December 27th; leave its 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 41 

opera, its concerts, its interesting German life with deep 
regret, and its unspeakable climate with some joy. It has 
rained every moment of every hour for the past two weeks, 
and this is not a rhetorical figure; it is a literal statement of 
fact. Perhaps this is why I am finding it a bit more than 
difficult not to think too much about all of you and my beloved 
Christmas at home. 

Our decision to leave Berlin is the direct result of several 
auditions which my young lady has had with managers and 
teachers here, all of whom seem to feel that she should by 
all means study for opera. When we left America, our ob- 
jective was the concert field, but every one who has heard her 
immediately suggests opera. Because she is small, her operatic 
roles would of necessity be those of the Italian, not the German 
operas. Here they like them BIG. Thus it is that we have 
decided to go to Italy. 

We have heard three very remarkable and utterly different 
operas within the past two weeks. The first was that vivid and 
most unusual music drama, "Die Toten Augen," by D'Albert. 
The composer has a French name but wrote his opera in 
German. I have failed to find out why. 

The story was to me the most gripping of any that I have 
ever seen or heard depicted on the stage. The heroine is 
Myrtocle, a Grecian woman of high rank married to one 
Alzesius. She was blind. He was a man of marvelous beauty 
of character, and adored her, but he was a hunchback dread- 
fully deformed. She did not know this, and his only hope 
of happiness lay in her blindness. They lived in Jerusalem. 
On the day when Jesus made His triumphal entry, her maid, 
hearing of Him through a young Jewish maiden, takes Myrtocle 
to Him. You do not, on the stage, see the figure of the Christ; 
you see only his hand touching her eyes. When the multitudes 
burst into exultant cries of "She sees! Glory to God, she sees!" 
I cried like a child and disgraced myself hopelessly. Then a 
voice behind the scenes warns Myrtocle that before sunset she 
will curse Him for making her see. This is supposed to be the 
voice of Jesus, and it was sung in a lovely, liquid tenor. She 



42 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

goes home with joy, decks herself for her husband, and when 
he comes, conceals herself. When she at last sees him and 
discovers that he is ugly and deformed, her grief is terrible. 
When she was taken to Jesus, Mary Magdalene met them, 
and it was she who brought Myrtocle to the notice of the 
Master. She then told Myrtocle that her sight would not bring 
her joy unless she used it for others. At first, Myrtocle prays 
to die, but after a while she remembers what Mary Magdalene 
said, thinks of her husband's great love, and knowing that if 
she sees him she cannot continue to love him, she looks into 
the brilliant oriental sun until she is once more blind. She 
then goes out and lies gallantly, telling her husband that she 
did not see him. 

It is a strange story, but perhaps you who know me can 
understand how deeply it moved me. So far as my knowledge 
goes, this opera has never been presented in America, although 
it may have been. 

Last Thursday, we heard an utterly different opera, "Lustige 
Weibe," "The Merry Wives of Windsor," with Ivogun as 
Frau Flute. We laughed till we were tired, and Ivogun was 
adorable. She possesses a coloratura soprano the like of which 
one seldom hears and is withal a charming actress. 

Last evening we heard what was, to my mind, the high 
water mark of all our Berlin opera going. At least from an 
artistic standpoint. The Staats Oper presented "Tristan und 
Isolde" with Frieda Leiter as Isolde and a young tenor named 
Urlus as Tristan. Leiter was simply marvelous. In America 
we seem to feel that unless the orchestra plays Wagner with 
all the instruments forte and the voice screaming to keep up 
with them, we are not Wagnerian. Here they do not scream 
Wagner, they sing it. It seems impossible to conceive, but 
Leiter sang the Isolde role as delicately in many places as if it 
had not been Wagner, but Verdi. It was exquisite, and a type 
of Wagner singing I had never heard, and the conductor made 
the orchestra shade for the singer and did not expect her to 
make herself felt above an impossible blare. Altogether, I 
shall remember "Tristan and Isolde" with unmixed joy. And 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 43 

always, always I ask myself: "Who am I that I should be hav- 
ing this wonderful, wonderful opportunity?" 

Sunday afternoon we are going to hear "Haensel und 
Gretel," that adorable Christmas idyl, and this will be our last 
Berlin opera. 

Good night, dear, dear friends of my heart, and may the 
gracious presence of Him who heals all hurts and whose gentle 
hand laid on blind hearts can give them the vision to see His 
adorable face, be with you through all the glad New Year. 

Almeda C. Adams 



Berlin, 
Sunday, December 26, 1926 

This is the last time that this record will bear the above 
heading, and I realize the fact with keenness of regret which 
I would hardly have deemed possible. Climatically, Berlin has 
not smiled upon us, and sometimes its incessant rain has been 
a bit depressing, but for all its lack of sunshine, its cold damp 
days, its inadequate tile stove, I love it still, for oh! its operas 
and its concerts, and my wonderful German teacher who has 
taught me so much more than language and made me under- 
stand in some measure the warm sincere German heart. 
Her own is gold, and I shall never forget her. Her name is 
Fraulein Hedwig Heilbrun. She lives at 47 Augsburgerstrasse, 
and she knows more history and language and music than 
almost anyone whom I have ever been privileged to meet. 

At her home on the day before Christmas, I had a very 
wonderful experience. I knew that the destitution in Berlin 
is, this year, very great, and I wanted to do my bit to help, so 
I asked Fraulein Heilbrun and her sister to find a family for 
me. In the end we found two who needed help. One of them 
lived in the basement of a tenement, as do, alas, too many 
in Berlin these post-war days. It was very far from our house, 
and so the mother came with her four children to Fraulein 



44 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Heilbrun's home to receive her gifts, and Fraulein asked me 
to come in and see them. The children were a boy of twelve, 
a girl of eight, a boy of ten who seemed somehow younger 
than the girl, and a darling tot of four. No children brought 
up in a home of the utmost wealth and opportunity could be 
more charming or have more perfect manners. That they 
were desperately poor was evident; but the boy addressed me 
with the grace of a young prince, and the tiny girl was simply 
adorable. Another student of Fraulein Heilbrun had brought 
clothing which made it possible for me to spend my money 
for food and toys. I have never seen such quiet but radiant 
joy. Every one of the children recited for me lovely Christmas 
poems, and they sang Holy Night most beautifully. The young 
mother was truly and deeply grateful but she did not fawn or 
cringe. She thanked me with a dignity which made one feel 
that one had succeeded in that rare and ideal achievement, 
namely, the conferring of a favor without destroying self- 
respect of the recipient. 

The other family lived near us, and to their little home we 
went with our gifts. They were less destitute and had a 
rather pleasant little tenement at the top of a not bad building. 
The two-year old girlie sat on my lap and proffered kisses and 
generally made me happy. Here again they all recited pieces 
and sang "Heilige Nacht." 

On Thursday evening, we heard our last Mozart opera, 
that most delightful and best known of all his works, the 
"Marriage of Figaro," "Figaro's Hochzeit," as the Germans 
call it. When I remind you that "Voi Che Sapete," "Giunse 
Alfin il Momento," and "Dove Sono" are all arias from this 
opera, then you will realize what a joy it was to hear it. Of 
course, it was sung in German, and some of the arias, notably 
"Giunse Alfin il Momento," were not, to my mind, well done. 
But the whole opera is so funny. The Figaro is, of course, the 
same character who figures in "II Barbiere di Siviglia," and the 
basso who took the role on this occasion was so delightfully 
humorous that one could not but enjoy every moment. All you 
soprano ladies will have to do the arias all over when I come 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 45 

home, with the added light which I shall be able to throw upon 
their interpretation. So begin to look them up a bit, will you 
please? 

In Germany, the great festival is not Christmas Day but 
Christmas Eve. Frau Stoessinger certainly did everything in 
her power to make us forget that we were away from home. 
The dinner was at eight. All the tables were beautifully 
decorated. There were place cards well arranged, no easy task 
in a heterogeneous group representing several nationalities and 
widely varying types. In the matter of nationality, Americans 
were predominant, and in that of type, the young theologue and 
his wife held the majority. After dinner, which was not, I 
must admit, much like an American Christmas dinner, except 
for nuts and lovely Christmas cakes which the Germans know 
how to make as we do not, the parlor door was opened, reveal- 
ing a large, beautiful Christmas tree, brilliantly lighted with 
real candles as a Christmas tree should be. Electric lights may 
be safer, but they destroy the illusion. 

The gifts were all for the maids. Each maid had a table. 
There is in Berlin a strange law, one which to me seems to 
destroy to some extent the ideal of Christmas. The employer's 
gift to a maid who has been with her a year or less must be 
valued not less than thirty marks (seven dollars), the amount 
increasing in definite proportion for each added year of ser- 
vice. My maid Mitzi, who has been with Frau Stoessinger 
seven years, received linens valued at much over a hundred 
marks. To me it would seem far better to give this in wages, 
throughout the year. 

But I have never seen anything equal to the ' gliick" of 
these maids over Christmas. For days before, they work 
actually eighteen hours a day, making everything beautifully 
and immaculately clean, and they do this with cheerfulness and 
an eager anticipation of Christmas Eve which is marvelous to 
witness. They each buy a tiny tree and the time to trim it is 
taken out of their scant sleeping hours. In my book of Saints, 
I place for Berlin my German teacher and my maid Mitzi. 

On Christmas morning I read all your dear, dear letters and 



46 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

cards, and I have no words to tell you how much they mean 
to me or what they did to make my far-away Christmas happy. 
In spite of my prohibitions, several of my friends sent packages 
and we opened them with glee. But I am glad that some of 
you did exactly what I asked. 

I went to the American Church for the last time, and heard 
a lovely sermon by the dear old man who is its pastor. By 
the way, I never knew until then that our own Bishop Brooks 
was once pastor for a year of the American Church in Berlin. 

This afternoon we heard "Haensel und Gretel." The cast 
was ideally chosen, and the presentation was perfect. The 
scene in which the angels come down the shining stairway from 
Heaven to guard the children after the sandman has put them 
to sleep, was exquisite. Above brooded the Christmas star 
whose beams came down till they seemed to touch the children. 
It was hard to say which was most delightful, the children on 
the stage or the children in the audience, of whom there were 
very, very many. When the witch was burned and the effigy 
was shown, these children gasped with delight. Whenever 
I eat ice cream made in the home of my friend Miss Getz, I 
have a way of saying, "Well, this is the best we have ever had." 
Perhaps it is on the same principle that at this moment 
"Haensel und Gretel" seems to me the loveliest though not the 
greatest of our Berlin operatic experience. 

And now to dear Berlin we say farewell. When I write 
again, it will be of Nuremberg and Munich. But I hope, ah, 
how I hope, that I have made you know and love my dear 
Berlin and my dear German people. To you all, I wish every 
joy that the New Year can bring. And I am for all the years 
to come, 

Your very own, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 47 

Hotel Deutscher Kaiser, 
Munich, Germany, 
January 4, 1927 

The past week has been the very most wonderful in all this 
wonderful experience. As always, I despair of being able ade- 
quately to convey it to you, but equally as always I cannot be 
happy until I share it with you as best I may. 

We left Berlin at 10: 34 a.m., on Monday, December 27th, 
en route for Vienna via Nuremberg and Munich. The trip 
to Nuremberg was a matter of eight hours, and we had our 
compartment to ourselves and could lounge about all over the 
place. These compartment trains are wonderful when they 
are not crowded. Reaching Nuremberg, we went at once to 
the Christliches Hospiz. Of all these hospiz hotels, it was the 
finest, and we have liked them all. 

Each of these German cities seems to have its own special 
and particular hero, round whom all its art and history centers. 
In Berlin and Potsdam, the name of Friedrich the Great "is 
writ large" over everything one sees. In Dresden, August the 
Strong actually seemed to still live, and to dominate the whole 
atmosphere of the city. Nuremberg is smaller than any of 
these, but it certainly is richer in patron saints than any. Four 
names are everywhere enshrined in its art and history; those 
of Adam Kraft, Veit Stoss, Albrecht Diirer, and Hans Sachs. 
The first two have graven their personalities in marble and 
stone, in every great church and museum in the city. Albrecht 
Diirer has painted his on wonderful canvases, while Richard 
Wagner has made the name of 

"Hans Sachs Shoe 
Maker and Poet too." 
famous in "Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg." 

The city has three great churches, each marvelous in its 
way. Die Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), Die 
Lorenzkirche, and Die Sebalduskirche. On Tuesday morning 
we saw the first two. Die Frauenkirche is still Catholic, the 
others have been Protestant since the days of Martin Luther. 

It is impossible to describe the altars and the marvelous 
ceilings and wall decorations of these churches. The sculptures 



48 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

are the work of Veit Stoss and Adam Kraft; and depict Christ 
on the cross, the Last Supper, and the Holy Family, in ever- 
varying conception. 

Of the three great churches, perhaps the Lorenzkirche is 
the most remarkable. Its nave dates back to the sixteenth cen- 
tury, and it is rich in sculptures and carvings. Of the latter, the 
most remarkable is the Englischer Gruss (Angel's Greeting) 
which depends from the ceiling in the center of the choir. In 
the middle are the two figures, the Angel Gabriel and the 
Virgin, encircled by a rosary. Over them God the Father, and 
beneath, the snake with the apple. The seven disks inserted in 
the rosary represent the seven joys of the Virgin. This is the 
work of Veit Stoss, and dates back to 1518. 

On top of the Frauenkirche is a marvelous clock, where 
daily at high noon the figures of the electors pass before 
Kaiser Charles the Fourth. This repeats itself for five minutes, 
looking of course like a continuous procession. We counted 
seven of these figures, but it was so high that it was difficult 
to be sure that our count was correct. 

The oldest of the three churches is the Sebalduskirche and 
to us it was the most interesting. Saint Sebald was of royal 
blood, and was to marry the daughter of a French king. On 
the eve of their wedding, he went away because he felt that 
he could not live the life of luxury and selfishness at the French 
court. He spent the rest of his life in the woods, and ministered 
everywhere to the poor and sad. The church dates back to 
the twelfth century, and here, too, Adam Kraft in the fourteenth 
century did some wonderful work. Many of the decorations 
of the small chapels are the gifts of noble German families 
which they commemorate. 

On Wednesday, we saw Nuremberg's great museum, the 
Germanische. This is unlike any other which we have seen. 
It is an epitome of the whole history of German culture and 
art from its crudest beginnings to the present day. 

One sees first the more modern portion. I have never 
dreamed of such exquisite carving in wood. In Germany they 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 49 

do not build houses with closets. Instead, they use what they 
call "Schranks." They are like our wardrobes and yet unlike 
them in that they are higher and more graceful of line. From 
the very earliest times, they have been subjects for the most 
gorgeous decorative art. They are carved with animals, 
flowers, and every imaginable device. Some of the more costly 
are inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and all have heavy, full-length 
mirrors. There were boxes carved in open work so delicate 
that it seemed that it would break with a touch. You must 
remember that even the so-called newer ones are often two 
hundred years old. Nothing is old over here until it dates 
back to the eleventh century; then, perhaps, it is growing a bit 
ancient. 

For me, it was wonderful in Nuremberg. The guides did 
not watch us closely, and I could touch everything that was 
not encased. Through the older portion of the museum, how- 
ever, we went with a guide. He was wonderful to me, putting 
my hand on everything that could be touched. 

Here we saw the very beginnings of all things; the first 
weapons, the first crude dishes, and wooden bowls and spoons. 
But however crude, they were all carved with some sort of 
design. 

That some attempt was made at beauty from the earliest 
times was everywhere evident. There were wonderful old 
embroideries on silks. One of these seemed to be coming to 
pieces. Esther looked at the date on it and remarked, "Well, 
this must have been a very poor piece of silk, it has only lasted 
three hundred years." 

Many of the rooms in this museum have been brought 
bodily from other places and built onto it. The place was 
ice cold, and it took us much over an hour to go through it. 
I thought we would take our death, but we did not. 

We saw a wonderful old clavichord, mother of the first 
piano. It was for this instrument that Bach wrote all his fa- 
mous fugues. This one was made of mahogany, and the keys 
were covered with mother-of-pearl. It had a real scale, and the 



50 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

guide allowed me to play on it. I felt exactly like a little friend 
of mine, who, when anything pleased her, was wont to say, "I 
yike take that home wiv me." 

The whole Germanische Museum was a vivid panorama of 
German history. There were miniature houses, representing 
the homes of different periods with all their appointments. It 
made one feel strangely kin to all peoples of all ages. They 
ate and slept and sorrowed and rejoiced and felt the same needs 
and the same impulses toward beauty as we, and they passed 
on into a larger life, as we shall do. 

On Wednesday afternoon, we went to one of the theatres 
and heard "Schneewittchen und die Sieben Zwerge." Now I 
hope that even those of you whose family tree did not have 
its roots in Das Vaterland will recognize this as "Snow White 
and the Seven Dwarfs." If you do not, you ought to, but — 
don't tell anybody — I did not when I first heard it. It was, 
as I judge, an amateur performance for children, and I hardly 
know which we enjoyed most, the dwarfs on the stage or the 
kiddies in the audience. It was lovely, and I was surprised 
to realize how much I was able to understand, but that was 
probably because I knew the story. 

Thursday morning we went to the house of Hans Sachs. 
Ah, I wish I could describe it to you. It was off a tiny street, 
or rather alley. It consisted of two rooms, the outer where 
Hans lived, and the inner where he made shoes. The woman 
who cares for the house serves wine in the tiny outer room, 
but in the inner room is the work bench with its tools, various 
things hanging round the walls, Eva's wedding slippers and 
a window with tiny panes such as is shown in the opera. Hans 
Sachs was Haupt Meistersinger and he used to have outside 
his house this sign: 

"Hans Sachs Shoe 
Maker and Poet too." 

When I was at the New England Conservatory and Mr. 
Lewis Elsen described the home of Hans Sachs and Nuremberg 
I used to think that I would be perfectly happy if I could just 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 51 

see it — and I was. The debt I owe to the marvelous woman who 
is giving me all this joy is something too great for words, some- 
thing that can never be measured. 

Nuremberg has little old fashioned streets ; and clocks and 
clocks. I did so want to steal one of these, but when you 
go to a hotel, you have to tell your whole life story, where 
you were born and how old you are, married or single, etc., so 
the police have your number. 

We left Nuremberg Thursday at 1 : 30. At first we had the 
compartment to ourselves but presently a young man appeared 
upon the scene. He seemed to have a cold and we did not 
welcome his germs. However, as is usually the case, he proved 
to be a blessing in disguise. Of course, he and Esther began 
talking about music. It seemed that he had lived most of his 
life in Munich, and he told us many things, among them, that 
the Hospiz here is less modern than the one in Nuremberg. He 
recommended Hotel Deutscher Kaiser which we have loved. 
When we reached Munich in the early dusk he brought us to 
our hotel and asked if he might show us about a little the next 
morning. Once more I realized the advantage of traveling 
with an interesting young person like my Esther. 

From the first moment, we felt at home in this hotel. The 
food is wonderful, and more like that in America than any- 
where else we have been, always excepting my beloved 
Switzerland. We have actually had regular American steak 
and that is something to dream of here, I can assure you. Also 
American cake. 

Our young German, true to his word, came on Friday morn- 
ing and gave us our first introduction to his wonderful little 
city. He was going up into the mountains the next day, so 
we did not see him again, but he added another to the grate- 
ful memories which strengthened our love for these kindly 
German folk. 

This is New Year's Eve. We are watching the old year's 
departure, here in this far-away land, and I am thinking of 
you, my dear ones, at home. We would have liked to go to 
some one of the cafes and watch the life, but two unattended 



52 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

maidens can hardly do this. However, we have walked about 
in the quaint, narrow streets, breathing the clear, frosty air and 
watching the happy German people. And now the midnight 
bells are ringing. Ah, that they might indeed "ring out the 
old, ring in the new. Ring out the false, ring in the true." 
That they might ring out old enmities, old prejudices, ring in 
the new era of universal love and understanding. 

A gleaming art jewel on the breast of Germany is Munich 
on Isar. Its collections of art rival even those of Italy, and its 
Alte Pinakothek has the first collection of German, Dutch, 
and Flemish masterpieces to be found in the world. Three 
great art galleries cluster round the square. The Alte 
Pinakothek, the Neue Pinakothek, and the Glyptothek. These 
words are of Greek origin, Pinako meaning pictures, and 
Glypto, sculpture. 

The paintings in the Alte Pinakothek represent chiefly the 
works of masters of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, that 
marvelous creative period which gave to the world its greatest 
treasures in the realm of art. Such names as Diirer, Rembrandt, 
Van Dyck, and Rubens evidence the greatness of this collec- 
tion. We spent two hours on Saturday and more than two 
hours on Sunday in the Alte Pinakothek and for some reason 
we lingered longest over the Rubens collection. 

The difference between the conceptions of the Madonna 
by the painters of the Italian school and those of the Flemish 
and Dutch schools struck me more, perhaps, than anything 
else. The Italian Madonnas are almost always conceived as 
beautiful, innocent, childlike. Those of Rubens and Rem- 
brandt are beautiful, but they are not children; they are queenly, 
serious, highly intellectual women. 

There was one picture which I shall never forget. "The 
Madonna of the Roses," a picture of the Madonna and child 
set in a wreath of beautiful roses. I was surprised to find that 
Brughel was a painter of landscapes and flowers and nature 
scenes. 

Christ on the cross, the mourning for Him after He had 
been taken down, the Holy Family, these were the subjects far 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 53 

more often chosen. I could but wonder why not the resurrec- 
tion with its joys, but perhaps the artists stand helpless before 
this mystery. 

The Neue Pinakothek contains pictures by the artists of the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A picture portraying the 
destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, painted by Wilhelm 
Kaulbach, made upon me a deep impression. 

On the ground floor of this building was a large collection 
of copper plate engravings. These amazed me. I have always 
thought of engraving as small and rather insignificant art. 
These were wonderful. One of them actually depicted the 
return of Frederick the Great after the Seven Years' War. 
Imagine the number of figures that would naturally enter into 
a picture of that type. I certainly had a higher respect for 
engravings and I made them my apology for thinking so 
lightly of them. Almost all of these are the work of one 
Chodowiecki, a Pole. 

Last night we heard a light opera called "Czar und Zimmer- 
mann" by Lortzing. Of all the light operas I have heard in 
Germany, I liked it the least, nor did it give me much idea of 
what the Munich opera is like. 

Yesterday afternoon, we were entertained for tea (which 
proved to be coffee) by a young American girl who is singing 
in the Munich opera. We were introduced to her by a friend 
of Esther's from New York, and she was charming and gave us 
some valuable tips about getting into opera here. 

This morning, which, by the way, is Wednesday, we went 
to the Glyptothek. This is entirely a collection of sculpture. I 
had a surprising revelation. I had always thought that sculp- 
ture would interest me far more than painting because it is 
form, and form is something which I can naturally comprehend 
much better than color. I was utterly amazed to find that 
they scarcely interested me at all. I really cannot account for 
such an unnatural psychology, unless it is because the sculp- 
tures almost all deal with Greek mythology, and what I do not 
know about that would make three books. So, maybe, as the 
Germans say, "I am just too dum" to understand sculpture. 



54 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

There were a lot of Egyptian creatures, part man and part 
animal, and a lot of Greek gods and goddesses that were alike, 
only different. Now that sounds about as intelligent as the 
girl in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." 

This afternoon, however, we saw something which I was 
capable of understanding and which both thrilled and sad- 
dened me. There is a new museum here called the Deutsches 
Museum. Not art, but science and practical education. It is 
an immense building completed about a year ago, and it con- 
tains every conceivable thing which has to do with the practical 
sciences. It would be utterly impossible to see it all thoroughly 
in less than a week, spending the amount of time and strength 
one can give each day and the strength is no small item. 

This afternoon we went through the coal mines. They are 
constructed exactly as mines really are, and show every detail 
of the process, from start to finish, both as it was done in earlier 
times, and as it is done today. The elevator takes you way 
down below the first floor, and you actually walk through what 
is as near a coal mine as it can be and not be it. There are 
hundreds of figures so lifelike that you cannot believe that they 
are not human beings, and they are doing all the work of the 
mine from the first crude blasting to the delivery of the coal 
to the cars. The mines are in three plateaus, as it were, and 
in the lowest the men lie down on their sides and dig. It 
takes all the pleasure away from being warm to realize that 
you secure this comfort at the expense of life and blood and 
such cruel toil. It almost makes the coal strike of England 
seem justifiable, no matter what the men demand. 

Tomorrow we go to Oberammergau. I feel this to be an 
extravagance, and it is my fault. But from a child, I have read 
of the Passion Play, and while, of course, it is not being played 
now, I feel that I must see the little village which is so conse- 
crated to its presentation. I met Anton Lang when he was 
in Cleveland, and I want to see him in his home. 

Oberammergau is about three hours from Munich by train. 
Over and over again, I am asking myself how can it be that I 
am having this great joy, I, who am so utterly unworthy of it. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 55 

I can only hope that I may do something for or be something 
to others which may at least prove how deeply I appreciate this 
wonderful opportunity. 

Munich is some 1600 feet above sea level. It is very close 
to the Bavarian Alps, and the air is wonderful. It is cold and 
clear, and after the heavy air and incessant rains of Berlin, is 
a joy. Munich is the first place in the old world where I really 
have felt that I could spend a year. A week seems far too 
little time in which to absorb its beauty and its store of educa- 
tional opportunities. 

I hope that I have not wearied you. If I do, write and ask 
me to make it a bit more snappy. With tender love, I am, 

Yours always, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Pension Atlanta, 
33 Waehringerstrasse, 
Vienna, Austria 
January 14, 1927 



My Dearly Loved: 



Here we are in the city of Richard Strauss and the Danube 
waltzes, to say nothing of the famous river which inspired 
them. In summer, this river is doubtless as blue as we have 
always pictured it, but at present it is a bit yellow. Not mean- 
ing to insinuate that "it has a yellow streak"; the Saints forbid! 

Our last two days in Munich were rich indeed in both joy 
and inspiration. 

I said goodbye to you last on Wednesday evening, January 
6th. The next day we went to Oberammergau, that little vil- 
lage in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, where for three hundred 
years the humble peasants have kept from generation to genera- 
tion a solemn pledge made to Almighty God, a pledge of un- 
dying gratitude for a deliverance. As you know, all that dis- 
trict was visited by a fearful plague which wiped out hundreds 
of lives. The people of Oberammergau met in their little 



56 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

church and humbly implored God to spare their village, promis- 
ing that every ten years they would hold a solemn festival in 
grateful commemoration. This festival reverently enacts the 
whole life of Jesus. The entire village takes part in its presen- 
tation. That pledge was never broken until the year 1920, just 
after the World War, when the entire village was too stricken, 
too hungry, too weak with want and suffering to make it pos- 
sible. It was, however, given in 1922. The next presenta- 
tion will be in 1930 and the three-hundredth anniversary in 
1940. 

The journey from Munich to Oberammergau is taken in 
mountain climbing trains, such as I described in Switzerland. 
The road winds ever upward through the mountains which, on 
the day we went, were covered thick with snow. Everywhere, 
graceful evergreens bent with the weight of their sparkling 
diadems; and everywhere, the peaks rose to bathe in the glory 
of a blue infinity. The beauty was as the beauty of a virgin 
soul, untouched by even the knowledge of human sin and sor- 
row. Up there amid the glory of mountain and sky, it was 
impossible to conceive that such a tragedy as the World War 
could ever have been. 

While we waited to be taken up to the home of Anton 
Lang, we sat in the most primitive of hotel, restaurants where 
a lot of working men were eating their noonday meal. Their 
dialect was difficult to understand, but not so their jovial 
laughter or their hearty appetites. They rallied each other 
good-naturedly, and the victim of the moment laughed as 
loudly as the rest. 

We were driven up to Herr Lang's in an old-fashioned, 
perfectly primitive open sleigh. The horse had bells, and the 
sleigh rocked in the snow and threatened to tip you over any 
moment, in the most approved fashion. 'The one horse open 
sleigh*' of poetic fame had not a thing over us, I can assure 
you, and the driver entertained us all the way. 

I touch with the deepest reverence the hour spent in the 
humble, simply appointed, gracious, German home of Anton 
Lang. I had met him when he was in Cleveland during his 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 57 

trip to America; and I had written asking him if we might 
come to his home, having heard that it really is a pension. He 
himself met us. He greeted us with a gentle, kingly grace. 
He sat beside us at table. He spoke with touching gratitude 
of America and his stay there. He talked with eager enthu- 
siasm of his work as a potter. He spoke briefly, with a reserve 
which said far more than words could do, of the suffering of 
the people of Oberammergau between the years of 1917 and 
1920. He said at the end, "But we feel sure that such a tragedy 
will never happen again." And this was an optimism born 
not of ignorance but of faith. 

After dinner we saw the beautiful things which he creates 
from the clay of his mountains. I could but think con- 
stantly how the great Molder of Lives had taken the com- 
mon clay of our human nature and wrought it, in Anton Lang, 
into a vivid likeness of the Son of God, simply through his 
daily contemplation of that divine character which, for three 
successive performances of the Passion Play, he had 
represented. 

You doubtless know that an English syndicate offered him 
$100,000 to come to London and present the Passion Play. I 
doubt greatly whether Anton Lang has ever owned $1,000. 
His home would in no way indicate it; but he refused without 
a moment's hesitation. He said simply, "The Passion Play 
is not drama. It is a sacred festival. If I commercialized it, 
I would be a traitor to God and to my people." 

His youngest child, a boy of seven, was adorable. His 
eldest is in college at Worcester, Mass., working his way 
through. I left the home of Anton Lang feeling that I had 
been blessed by a Saint. Not that he has any such idea. Any- 
thing more simple and humble than his every word and atti- 
tude it would be impossible to conceive. He is like a child, and 
reminds one that the Master said, "Of such is the kingdoni of 
Heaven." 

On Friday we went through the National Museum of 
Munich. The most wonderful thing in this museum is the 
wood carving. I had never conceived that this art possessed 



58 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

such possibilities. There were representations of entire vil- 
lages. Sometimes the colorings were so beautiful that you 
could scarcely believe that the material was wood. 

The most remarkable exhibit in this museum is a room 
called "Krippen room." It contains nothing but representa- 
tions of the manger and the birth of Christ. In some cases, 
the whole town of Bethlehem is reproduced, all carved in 
wood. The alcoves are dark, and when they throw over them 
a soft light, the effect is indescribably vivid. Here again is 
evidenced the difference between German and Italian art; the 
one striving ever for realism, the other for intrinsic beauty. 

I shall always look back upon my week in Munich as per- 
haps the most perfect and unmixed joy which I have ever 
known. My child enjoyed every moment, and that did much 
to make me happy. The hotel was a delight, from the won- 
derful food, such as we had not had in Europe, to my dear 
little Zimmer Madchen, Marie, who could not do enough 
for me to satisfy her own kind heart. Of all the places we 
have visited, I could more nearly be happy to live in Munich 
than anywhere. 

We left it Saturday morning at half -past eight. The trip 
to Vienna was ten hours or nearly that, although an American 
train would, I think, do it in seven. We met some pleasant 
American women, which helped some. For the first time in 
all our travels, we had no sort of idea to which hotel we were 
going. The porters took us to one which they recommended, 
but our olfactory nerves refused to wish to stay there. The 
American ladies had mentioned one, the Metropol, and thither 
we betook ourselves, to the disgust of the porters who had 
recommended the first one. 

The Metropol was very good, although it did more dam- 
age to our bank account than we usually allow or than we at 
all enjoy. But it was late, and two unattended females could 
not take too many chances. Besides, Vienna is not as clean 
as Berlin, and therefore the chances are greater. However, 
we stayed only from Saturday night until Monday morning. 

We spent Sunday seeking a pension. Never a happy task, 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 59 

and more difficult here than elsewhere. I doubt if Vienna has 
had a new apartment house in fifty years. If it has, there are 
no pensions in any of the new ones. The buildings are old, 
the plumbing is dreadful, the doors and floors creak, but — 
food is wonderful. So you see the law of compensation still is 
effective in this naughty, nice old world. 

I sometimes think we chose this pension because of its 
name, "Atlanta"; it sounds so American. It is as ancient and 
squeaky and odorous as all the rest; but the little Fraulein 
who is at its head, running it for and with her uncle, is charm- 
ing; and the cook — there are no words to express her. To be 
sure, I have never seen her, but I assure you, my respect for that 
lady is boundless. 

We have been here a week tomorrow, and I must confess 
that we have seen almost nothing. The reason being that it 
rained and it rained and it rained. Yesterday, however, it 
stopped. 

Last night we went to the "Volks Oper" and heard "Der 
Fliegende Hollander." The Volks Oper is, of course, the 
cheap and popular opera house. It has been closed a good 
deal of the time. We had no choice because nothing was being 
given at the Staats Oper which we wanted to hear. The per- 
formance was by no means wonderful; but Esther had never 
heard the opera, and at least it was interesting. 

One thing is everywhere evident. The old, gay, laughing, 
luxurious Vienna of which one has always read has given place 
to a shabby, poverty-stricken, disheartened Vienna which is 
much the worse for war. The Viennese were ever a pleasure- 
loving people who lived for today, and today they find them- 
selves stripped of all that to them made life. Their richest 
families are pitifully poor, and they have not the material re- 
sources or the natural resilience to come back quickly, as the 
Germans are doing. More of Vienna next time. With much 
love, 

Yours, 

Almeda C. Adams 



60 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Pension Atlanta, 

33 Waehringerstrasse, 
Vienna, Austria, 
January 18, 1927 

My Dear Friends: 

As usual, it rains. Of course, the Viennese would tell you 
that it was, "as unusual." But so did the Berliners, and 
the Americans whom I met who were there last year said that, 
so far as they could see, it had been just the same. So my 
credulity does not rise to the occasion. To be sure, it did not 
rain yesterday; and that is something, for in Berlin it rained 
every day, all day, all the time. So Vienna scores one. 

Sunday afternoon we heard a lovely concert. The Vienna 
Symphony Orchestra with a large chorus. The orchestra played 
the "G Major Symphony," by Gustave Mahler. The pro- 
gramme was an "all Austrian Composers." I had never heard 
the Mahler Symphony, and I could not decide from one hear- 
ing what I really thought of it. In spots, it was very beautiful ; 
but k was, like much of the modern music, very vague at times. 
The chorus was beautiful. I have never heard a better, unless 
I except the Mendelssohn choir. They sang one selection by 
Hugo Wolf, "Krist Nacht," which I shall never forget. One 
of the solo parts was taken by a boy soprano with a clear, 
lovely voice. 

Last night, however, was, I am sure, the crowning event 
of our Vienna sojourn; for nothing which can follow can be 
so wonderful. We heard at the Staats Oper, that wonderful, 
thrilling, and in America, practically unknown, opera "Der 
Evangelimann." It would be impossible to convey any im- 
pression of the opera without telling you the whole story, and 
this I shall not attempt to do. Suffice it to say, it is one of 
the most moving themes that could be conceived, and the music 
befits it like a beautiful garment. It is by Dr. Wilhelm Kienzl. 

I have never before heard anything which he has com- 
posed, but last evening we saw and heard him conduct this 
opera on the occasion of his seventieth birthday. He stood 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 61 

before his orchestra, a little man, hair and beard snow white, 
a face radiant with love of his art and of his people. The 
cast was wonderful, and everyone, from the Concertmeister of 
the orchestra to the humblest member of the chorus, gave to 
the Conductor a reverent, loving obedience. Nothing in all my 
European experience has so thrilled me. The audience went 
wild again and yet again. These Europeans do not wait until 
their great men die to prove their devotion. Such an ovation 
as was repeatedly given Dr. Kienzl I had never seen. There 
was about it no claque. It was the sincere expression of the 
deep love of a great city for one of its greater sons. The 
tenor came out with Dr. Kienzl to acknowledge the applause 
again and yet again. The doctor was so modest that he would 
not remain out alone, and at last the tenor put both arms 
around him and drew him to the front. Frau Kienzl sat in 
one of the boxes and smiled and applauded with the rest. Al- 
together, it was an evening to remember all one's life. It made 
one feel that, after all, the world is not so cold and unap- 
preciative as we are often apt to think. When I come home 
I want to tell you more about the opera itself. It moved me 
as nothing, except, perhaps, "Die Toten Augen," has done; 
and the occasion was even more thrilling. 

Quite contrary to our usual procedure, we had expensive, 
down-stairs seats, because we could get no others. That is, 
they were expensive for Europe and us, two dollars apiece, and 
we were not sorry. We even honored dear old Dr. Kienzl 
with our evening gowns, although he does not know it. Nor 
will he ever know that two humble Americans gave his genius 
the reverence of their hearts. But we will never forget "Der 
Evangelimann" or its composer. 

This morning we went to a museum but got less from it 
than usual, because the catalogue was all in German script 
which Esther does not read easily, albeit she speaks it very 
well. 

Yesterday afternoon we went to the house in which Franz 
Schubert was born. They have gathered many mementos of 
the composer and put them into these tiny rooms. Portraits 



62 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

of himself and his friends, of his family, pictures of what were 
called "Schubert Abends," the musical evenings which he spent 
with his friends. Schubert sat at the piano and played while 
his friends sang his beautiful "lieder." His grand piano and 
a great old chair in which he sat, are also there. 

But the thing which interested me most was the collection 
of his manuscripts, the original copy which he made of many 
of his songs and string quartettes and other works. The words 
of these and some of the notes are still clearly legible. The 
very presence of this gentle, genial, gifted man seems to brood 
above the place. Perhaps no composer has ever been more 
deeply beloved and the shadow of his untimely death and his 
hard and poverty-hampered life, could but deepen the tender 
memories which the place evoked. 

This morning we went to the old palace which was for 
generations the home of the Austrian kings. They refused to 
show it to us because they do not open it to visitors in wet 
weather. If our experience proves anything, then they never 
open it, for rain is all there is in this city. However, the 
National Library is in one end of the castle, and at eleven 
o'clock, even on rainy days, they take visitors through the won- 
derful rooms which were the Royal Library. 

Here is to be seen the marvelous collection of books ac- 
cumulated for generations by the Hapsburgs, that royal family 
which, with the Hohenzollerns, have made the history of Europe 
for centuries ; and, incidentally, have been responsible for most 
of its tragedies. To me, the most interesting thing in this 
library was a marvelous collection of parchments and manu- 
scripts showing the evolution of the art of book-making. These 
represented the work of every conceivable country, in every 
spoken language, from Egyptian papyruses dating back to 300 
B.C., and more, to the first printed bibles of Gutenberg. Whole 
copies of the New Testament written by hand by the monks in 
the monasteries and representing the work of a lifetime were in 
this collection. To me, this was intensely interesting, making 
one realize by what travail of toil the wisdom of the ages had 
been preserved for us. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 63 

On Wednesday evening, we heard the light, very light, 
opera, "Fledermaus," by Johann Strauss, who is, as you know, 
called the "Waltz King" of Vienna. His waltzes are doubt- 
less the most beautiful compositions of that type ever written. 
But "Fledermaus" failed to interest me, probably because comic 
opera depends so largely for its appeal on the ability to see the 
action. 

Vienna is remarkable for the beauty of its architecture. 
There are more beautiful buildings here than in any city that 
we have visited. Almost all are old; but all marvelously de- 
signed. Vienna would be wonderful in summer when it liter- 
ally lies in a bed of green. But we have seen it at some dis- 
advantage. First, the afore-mentioned rain. Secondly, that 
I have not been very well, so that I feel that we have seen 
less of Vienna, considering the length of time that we have 
been here, than of most places which we have visited. 

On Saturday afternoon, we visited the Burg Theater, which 
seems abundantly to justify its claim of being the most beauti- 
ful in the world. It was built by Franz Joseph, the greatest of 
the Austrian emperors, and the last, save one. Its decorations 
are as beautiful as those of any palace, and its architecture is 
marvelous. The royal boxes are most lavishly furnished with 
chairs covered with the richest brocades. The theatre looks 
immense, and we were amazed to find that it seats only about 
1700. Among many portraits of great actors and actresses who 
have evidenced their genius on its stage, one particularly inter- 
ested me, namely the picture of Frau Wilbrandt, who is now 
eighty-five years old, and still playing. Our guide told us he 
had seen her only the day before in a play. That certainly is 
beating the record. Her husband, Herr Wilbrandt, was at one 
time director of the Burg Theater. 

On Sunday morning we saw the historic Museum of 
Vienna, which is in the new Rathaus or City Hall. It con- 
tains pictures and engravings, showing the city in every period 
of its history, dating back to the thirteenth and fourteenth cen- 
turies. Its artists, its musicians, its writers are commemorated by 
pictures and by entire rooms devoted to mementos of them. It 



64 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

has produced great men along every line, but its galaxy of 
famous musicians is the largest of all its brilliant constella- 
tions, including such names as Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beetho- 
ven, Schubert, not to mention its lesser stars such as Hugo 
Wolf, Johann Strauss, Bruchner, Gustave Mahler, etc. The 
influence of "Vienna upon the musical life of Europe seems to 
me to be almost greater than that of any other single city. 

On Sunday afternoon we went out to Schonbrunn, the 
show place of Vienna, where is located the palace which for 
centuries has been the home of the Austrian kings. As always, 
the history weaves itself about two outstanding names, those 
of Maria Theresa and Franz Joseph. 

We saw the forty rooms which constituted the residence of 
the monarchs. The dining rooms, reception rooms, and bed 
chambers in which monarchs lived and made history, now all 
thrown open to an inquisitive public. It seems incredible. 

I am no monarchist, yet I could not escape a feeling that 
it was almost sacrilege. Nor could I feel other than a deep 
compassion for Franz Joseph. He died in 1916 in the midst 
of the war, at the age of eighty-seven, and the story of his 
seventy years' reign, the most brilliant, perhaps, in Austria's 
history, is yet a tale of tragedy which could but move one to 
pity. His wife was insane a large part of her later life. 
His son, Crown Prince Rudolf, committed suicide under 
most disgraceful circumstances, killing at the same time the 
woman who was his paramour; and dragging the royal name 
in the dirt, in every coffee house in Vienna. His nephew, the 
lawful successor to the throne, was that Franz Ferdinand whose 
assassination made the outward excuse for the World War, 
the real cause of which, I sometimes wonder as I hear it given 
from such widely varying viewpoints, whether any one will 
ever know. The last Emperor, Karl, who abdicated in 1918 
after the war, seems to have been nothing in particular. 

On Sunday evening I had an interesting conversation with 
a most intelligent gentleman who was a native of Vienna, 
my pension host. He told me many things which make the 
present conditions of Austria easier to understand. As you 
know, Franz Joseph was emperor of Austria, Hungary, Czecho- 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 65 

Slovakia, and I know not of what other small countries. When, 
at the end of the war, these countries were given their inde- 
pendence, the kingdom of Austria was reduced from sixty mil- 
lion to six million, with two million of that number in Vienna 
alone. My friend told me that Austria has not enough farm- 
lands to raise its own food or enough working mines to pro- 
vide its own fuel. It is therefore reduced to buying almost 
everything from other countries. 

There are many people who seem not to be in sympathy 
with the new republican form of government. It is socialistic 
and the conservatives do not like it. Altogether, poor little 
Austria is hard pressed to maintain its national life, and my 
friend said frankly that he really thought that in ten years 
it might cease to exist as a separate nation and be absorbed 
in some other country. ''Germany logically?" I asked. "I 
suppose so," he replied. I said, "Would that be so strange 
since your language is the same? What is the real difference 
between you?" He hesitated, and when I suggested that it was 
mainly the difference between Hohenzollerns and Hapsburgs, 
he laughed and admitted that it almost seemed so. 

The palace of Schonbrunn has a marvelous collection of 
carriages of every variety. Some of these are jeweled and gor- 
geously upholstered. The coronation coach of Franz Joseph 
is so heavy that it requires four great stallions to draw it. 

We are leaving Vienna Monday morning for Milan by 
way of Venice. We shall stop in the latter city for a day, 
another life-long dream coming true. I am literally praying 
that it may not rain. 

Once in Milan, our vacation days will be over, and we 
shall settle down once more to hard work and plenty of it. 
But the weeks since we left Berlin have given us a wealth 
of treasures which memory will hold for us through all our 
lives. Now for Italy and a new contact, meaning, as it always 
does, an enrichment of experience and a broadening of love and 
understanding. For I am finding that to know any people is 
to love them. 

With love to every one of you, and a tender good-night, 

Almeda C. Adams 



66 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Pension Guida, 

Corso Buenos Ayres, 
Milano, Italy, 
January 31, 1927 

My Beloved Friends: 

Milano at last. But if I had dreamed of a sunny clime 
and soft airs, I must confess to utter disappointment. The fogs 
rival London, or at least, what I have heard about London, 
and I have never been so cold. Heating houses is something 
about which our Italian friends know nothing. They have 
tiny radiators that would not warm a clothes closet, and all 
their ceilings are high and their windows or rather casements, 
for all Europe has casements, are loose enough to make the 
wind feel perfectly free and welcome to enter when he will. 
So if this letter is utterly illegible it is because my hands are 
so cold that I cannot write. 

We left Vienna on Monday morning, January 24th, as 
we had planned to do. We were obliged to rise with the birds 
or with the milk wagons which are more in evidence, for our 
train left at half-past seven. The compartment was not 
crowded; in fact, we had it to ourselves a good part of the 
way, and for that day and the next the sun shone as I have 
not seen him shine in Europe. 

The journey over the mountains with their glittering 
coronets of snow, glorified by the kiss of the sun, was won- 
derful, mountain peak after mountain peak rising before us 
with each new vista. The journey was the longest we have 
taken, as we did not reach Venice until eleven at night, but 
it was also one of the most beautiful. Had we entered Venice 
at that hour in June, we would have been greeted by a fairy 
land of light and color and by music everywhere. But Venice 
in the winter is something other than the Venice of one's 
dreams. I imagined that we would be taken to our hotel in 
a gondola. On the contrary, we walked there most prosaic- 
ally on a narrow side walk. However, had our hotel been 
farther away, we would have been obliged to take the ferry. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 67 

It is marvelous how ignorant one can be. I speak for my- 
self alone. I had always supposed that one could not walk 
anywhere in Venice, but must be taken from door to door in 
a boat. On the contrary, you can walk everywhere if you know 
how. But I fancy only those who are born there could pos- 
sibly find their way about the narrow streets, which turn inces- 
santly, ending in blind alleys out of which it would seem im- 
possible to escape. There are in fact no streets, only sidewalks 
with tiny shops on each side. Imagine a city of 175,000 people 
and not an automobile, not a carriage, not a vehicle of any kind 
except boats. This is Venice. 

On Tuesday we had a guide. We saw the Rialto, sacred 
to the fame of Antonio and Shylock. It was easy to fancy 
one's self back in that Shakespearian atmosphere. We saw the 
balcony over which Juliet leaned to Romeo. We stood in San 
Marco square, with its marble paving, its marvelous cathedral, 
and its pigeons. I never saw so many in my life. I fed them, 
and they perched on my head, my hands, my shoulders, and ate 
from my hand. 

The cathedral makes all the other ancient structures which 
we have seen appear the creations of yesterday. It dates back 
to 830. It has, of course, been repeatedly rebuilt. Above the 
entrance and very high are four great bronze horses about 
which the guide told us a most interesting story. I cannot 
vouch for its truth. He said that they were of Greek work- 
manship, and were made in Corinth some time, probably, be- 
fore the Christian era. The Turks took them to Constantinople 
whence in the twelfth century, during the Crusades, Venice 
captured them. When Napoleon entered Venice about 1809, 
he took them away with him to Paris, greatly to the grief of 
the Venetians. The sculptor Canova did a piece of work for 
Napoleon which pleased the latter very much. In a rash 
moment, he said, "Ask of me whatever you will, and I will 
grant it." Instantly Canova said, "Sire, give me back my 
four bronze horses which you took from the Cathedral of San 
Marco." Napoleon was amazed. He had no wish to part 
with this treasure. But a monarch may not break his word, 



68 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

so Canova carried the horses back to Venice but Napoleon 
very meanly kept the bridles. 

I had rather liked our guide, but in the afternoon we 
had an experience which made me utterly distrust him, and 
the consequences of which I hardly dare contemplate had not 
my guardian angel as always been sent to guide my judgment. 
We wanted to see some silk scarfs such as we had seen in 
the morning, in the windows of a tiny shop in the Kialto. The 
guide said he would take us to a place. When we reached it, 
we began climbing a winding stair. I asked where we were 
going. He replied, "To see the scarfs." Somehow, from the 
first moment we reached the place, I did not like it. It was 
magnificently furnished, and it displayed the most gorgeous 
oriental shawls and scarfs of which I have ever dreamed. But 
they were not Venetian, nor were their prices within the reach 
of our purses. The man who owned the shop was very 
polished, in a suave, un-Italian way, and all the people about 
him were evidently orientals, although he did not exactly look 
so. When we began to look at the things a boy in oriental 
costume came up with a little tea wagon and the proprietor 
asked us to have some Turkish coffee. In an instant all the 
things which I have ever heard about hashish and Turkish 
coffee with its drugs came to me. I declined quietly, saying 
that we had just lunched. But he insisted and finally said 
in a most injured tone, "But, Madame, this is a custom of my 
family; you will not be so discourteous as to refuse!" Esther, 
who knows my fondness for coffee, could not understand and 
urged me to have some. I was obliged to say very emphatic- 
ally that I would not take it, and to ask Esther not to do so. 
The guide, when he saw my attitude, put down his cup which, 
I feel sure, he had not touched, and started out with us. .The 
proprietor followed us down the stairs. The suavity was quite 
gone from his manner. I have never seen anyone so ill at ease 
as was our guide. When we reached the street, I told him 
quietly that we would pay our bill and he might point us to the 
boat and we would go back to the hotel alone. He instantly 
left us after charging more than we had agreed upon. This 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 69 

is the first time we have had any unpleasant experience, but 
I feel sure that my hunch was right, and that the guiding hand 
that never leaves me, whether amid Cleveland's crowded thor- 
oughfares or on European shores, pointed to me the way of 
safety for myself and above all for my darling child. 

Venice should be seen in spring or summer, and of all the 
places we have visited, I most long to return to it when it is 
its beautiful dream self. So we left it for Milan on Wednes- 
day morning. The trip is less than five hours, and on that day, 
too, the sun shone, so that our introduction to Milano was a 
happy one. If I have since been disappointed in it, perhaps 
later it will redeem itself. 

At any rate, we have found a pension which is very good, 
except for the cold, and I gather that to be the same every- 
where, and Miss Cadkin has found a very fine coach with 
whom she has already had one lesson and whose work is a joy. 
This is, I infer, most unusual, for there are three other Amer- 
ican singing girls in the house, and they seem to have floun- 
dered about for months before finding the right teachers. So 
now we are once more at work. 

With love to everyone, and the hope that we shall hear 
*rom you, as we need our letters. 



Yours, 



Almeda C. Adams 



Milano, Italy, 
February 8, 1927 



My Beloved Friends at Home: 



For the first time since I sailed out of New York harbor, 
I approach the task of writing with nothing to say. The blame 
for such an unusual situation rests partly with La Scala. 

Why the managers of this world-famous Opera House 
chose this particular time to do what they have never done be- 
fore, namely, give Wagnerian opera in Italian, is beyond me. 



70 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Certainly they could not have chosen a worse, so far as we 
are concerned. We had so looked forward to La Scala and 
we have not even seen its ticket window as yet, and do not 
seem likely to for the present. Of course, we have no wish 
to hear the German operas which we heard so beautifully done 
in Berlin attempted here for the first time, and not in their 
native language. 

To my utter amazement, we find that there is not a Sym- 
phony Orchestra in Milan, unless you count the one at La 
Scala, which should be, but isn't. So it is, that we have not 
heard an opera in three weeks, and are desolated. To be sure, 
we hear or I do about one a year at home. But that is differ- 
ent. At home I have all of you to console me. I must admit 
that I have been more nearly ready to take the first boat home 
in the past week than since I came over. But I know perfectly 
well that when La Scala stops giving German opera which it 
is, they tell us, bound to do in a week or two, and when it 
grows a bit warmer, so that we don't freeze in our rooms, my 
eagerness to book immediate passage will be materially les- 
sened. Not that I shall be the less anxious to see you but 
there are still a few things left over here that I must store 
up in my casket of memory jewels. 

I am getting some very definite impressions of Italy, and 
the Italian people, but as yet, they are based on too little 
knowledge to make them of real value. I reserve judgment 
therefore until I have been here longer. If all the types that 
I see on the streets and in stores were like my adorable little 
Maestra who teaches me Italian, or like the cultured and high- 
bred gentleman who is Miss Cadkin's teacher, then I should 
feel that the Italians are a marvelous people; but I must admit 
that as yet, I seem to find these two marked exceptions. 

There are not many art museums here. The centers of 
Italian culture are in Florence, Venice, and Rome. I so long 
to see Florence and Rome, but do not know whether this will 
be possible to us. 

The most beautiful thing which we have seen here is the 
cathedral. It is called the Duomo, and stands in the square 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 71 

of that name which is the center of the life of Milan. It is 
the largest cathedral we have seen, and its chief beauty is in the 
marvelous windows with their exquisite paintings illustrating 
scenes of the Bible, and their gorgeous colorings. When the 
sun shines through them, they are indescribably beautiful. 
Italian art achieves the most exquisite blues and reds. The 
blues are delicious and are like no other blue in all art. They 
seem to create an atmosphere radiant and celestial. I shall try 
to learn more about the history of this great structure which 
is the pride of Milan. 

The only scrap of music which we have heard, aside from 
the singing of our maids in the kitchen (and they sing most 
of the time), is an orchestra in the only large department 
store. It plays in the afternoon in the tea-room, and is no mean 
orchestra. Here's hoping that there will be something inter- 
esting to tell next time. 

Always I am yours from my heart, and with all my love, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Pension Guida, 
Milano, Italy, 
February 22, 1927 

Dear Ones in That Far Away Good Land of My Heart: 

As I write the above date, I realize that this is Washing- 
ton's Birthday. I think I appreciate as never before how great 
a heritage he and those who shared the struggle and the hard- 
ships with him, bequeathed to us whose privilege it is to call 
ourselves Americans. Europe, with all its art, its culture, its 
history offers no gift so great as the gift of free-born United 
States citizenship. But oh — I wish that the men who today 
hold the balance of power in our beloved nation were inspired 
with that true patriotism, that spirit of utter sacrifice, that 
devotion to truth which should be their righful inheritance 
from those who suffered that we might live. If this were true, 



72 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

there would not be in our high places men who dishonor by 
graft and intrigue, the trust reposed in them, and if there were 
they would be punished as they deserve. When criminals like 
these go scot free it is little wonder that our youth hold a pub- 
lic conscience lightly and measure morality by "what a man 
can do and get away with." 

At last we have seen La Scala whose magic name has, for 
a hundred and fifty years, stood for the development of Italian 
opera which up to the time of Wagner meant the development 
of opera in the world. It is a beautiful old house. Not as 
big as the Metropolitan, by far, nor yet so gorgeous in its deco- 
rations as many modern theatres. It has a certain indescribable 
charm of its own. I have as yet been unable to learn exactly 
how many it seats; but so much of it is taken up with loges 
that I am sure its capacity must be less than its size would 
lead one to think. Its acoustics are wonderful, its stage is 
large. 

In this generation of course the name La Scala is synony- 
mous with that of Toscanini. He has been in America since 
before we came to Milano, but he is now returning, and we 
hope to hear him conduct before we leave Italy. To be sure, 
there is a rumor in the air that he has severed connections with 
La Scala, but Italians vigorously deny this. Toscanini puts the 
orchestra above everything else, and the singers are merely 
tributary in his mind to the whole scheme of an opera. Nat- 
urally, therefore, the orchestra at La Scala is wonderful, but 
to my mind the singers are not truly great or at least we have 
as yet heard none who are. 

The first opera we heard last Wednesday evening. It was 
"Aida" and the whole performance was delightful, albeit the 
soprano in the title role was not specially good. Again, how- 
ever, as in Germany, I feel that nowhere can an opera be 
heard to such advantage as in the country which gave it birth. 

On Saturday night we heard "La Boheme." It was a much 
less satisfying performance, but the chorus and orchestra were 
fine. In the second act they brought in a group of children 
which gave to the scene a delightful touch of realism. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 73 

At "Aida," during one of the intermissions, a lady came 
and asked if I were not Miss Adams of Cleveland. I "plead 
guilty," and found that although I had not known her person- 
ally, we had, at one time, been members of the Business 
Women's Club. She is the wife of the American Vice-Consul 
here, and she has been so lovely to me. She came the very 
next day, and we walked together; and on Sunday Esther and 
I were her guests for tea. This has meant much to me, for 
I have been a bit lonely in Milano. 

My heart's love is with you always. Good night. 

Almeda C. Adams 



Pension Villa Flora, 
Milano, Italy, 
March 11, 1927 
Dear Friends at Home: 

For the first time since I left America, I have failed to 
keep the promise which I then made myself: that I would 
write you at least once a week. Also, for the first time, I have 
seemed to find letter-writing a task from which I shrank. Per- 
haps this is because there has seemed so little of interest to 
write about, perhaps it is because the Spring has gotten into 
my blood. 

Within the past two weeks, we have had what may justly 
be called a "moving" experience. Of course, when we chose 
Pension Guida, we had no idea that it would prove a merely 
temporary arrangement or we never would have taken it. But 
circumstances arose which seemed to make a change imperative 
and so after one month, we found ourselves faced with the 
necessity of finding another place to live. 

This is not an easy problem in Italy. Outside the hotels 
it is extremely difficult to find living places where it is clean 
and where the food is at all possible. Nowhere is it much 
more than just possible and in many places it is to the Amer- 
ican standard utterly hopeless. 



74 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Our Italian teacher told us about this pension and in many 
ways I, at least, like it much better than the other. For one 
thing, the other was in an apartment without elevator service 
and the stairs were many. Also they were remodeling the 
building and the noise was trying. Or is this only an added 
indication of advancing years? 

Many of you have, by your kindly greetings, reminded me 
that I have recently added another to the list of anniversaries 
which point the way to the land of the setting sun. The 
shadows lengthen, but just beyond, they will be transfigured 
by the glory of the sunset. 

I watched it the other evening as we walked in the park — 
the sunset in an Italian sky — not massed in one blaze of color 
but diffused in gorgeous ribbons of gold and crimson and 
amethyst, a radiant robe wherein the dying day swathed the 
stately splendor of his going; a garment wrought of all the 
day had known of mist and cloud and sunlight. I wonder 
if the glory of our sunset must be thus self -created by the soul's 
alchemy out of life's experiences? 

But to return to our moving, which in Milano is no simple 
problem, I assure you. There is no such thing as an express 
company. The only transfer is that which takes your pos- 
sessions to and from the railway station. If you move from 
one house to another you have but two alternatives. Either 
you stand round for hours until you can capture one of the 
very few taxicabs big enough to carry a trunk or you take 
a push cart. After a morning spent in a hopeless effort to 
secure the former, we were compelled to resort to the latter. 
I wish I could send you a picture of us, walking along beside 
a rickety cart, pushed by two more or less intoxicated Italians 
and containing all our worldly goods. We momentarily ex- 
pected the cart to turn over, and scatter our possessions far and 
wide. I carried my precious typewriter. One of the men really 
was almost too drunk to walk. We were, I am sure, a strik- 
ing procession. But we got here without mishap. 

Last Friday and Saturday they had what they call Car- 
navale. It somewhat resembles our own Hallowe'en. This 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 75 

festival immediately precedes the restraints of the Lenten sea- 
son, and children and grown-ups alike dress in character cos- 
tumes. The kiddies were adorable. We saw one tiny tot 
dressed as Pierrot and he was so cunning. The grown people 
were often grotesque, but the children were darling. They 
paraded the streets all night Saturday night. In fact, I begin 
to doubt whether the Italians ever sleep. The older people 
played like children. I am told that they used to mask, but 
that Mussolini felt that much disorder resulted from the mask- 
ing, and has forbidden it. 

I am beginning to feel that possibly, however remote the 
policies of Mussolini may be from our American ideal of 
personal liberty, they may find some justification both in the 
Italian temperament and in the results which they are achiev- 
ing. The Italians are much like grown-up children with seem- 
ingly slight sense of serious responsibility. They are intrinsic- 
ally kindly. Everywhere their consideration of me touches me 
deeply. They are impulsive, lovable, gay. A minimum of 
work and a maximum of play seems to be their ideal. But just 
as I feel that American children would be better served by 
more discipline these days than by the exaggerated idea of per- 
sonal liberty which results in selfishness and lack of responsi- 
bility, so I can begin to understand Mussolini's statement that 
what Italy needs is Work and Discipline. I realize, of course, 
that I know only one type of Italian, those I meet on the streets 
and in the stores. I know well that there is another type, 
serious, cultured, thoughtful, and I regret that I have no con- 
nections which make it possible for me to meet such. 

The other morning I had a most pleasant two hours at the 
Institute for the Blind. The grounds are the most beautiful 
which I have seen in Milan and the building is large and well 
equipped. I was amazed to find that this institution is not, 
like ours, supported by the state or the province, but by pri- 
vate contributions. In the foyer are statues and portraits of the 
founders and donors. This is not our idea of the way in 
which the education of our handicapped should be provided 
for, but it is better than not doing it at all. I saw the kinder- 



76 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

garten children, and they danced and sang and were wholly 
dear and charming. 

On Tuesday evening we heard what so far was quite the 
best performance that La Scala has given us, the opera 
"Carmen," and I have certainly never seen so elaborate and 
realistic a presentation. In the finale, the arena was clearly 
visible and there were eight beautiful horses on the stage, four 
white and four black. Whenever they present a street scene, 
there are always children, and in the first act a group of these 
marched like soldiers and sang the soldiers' chorus with more 
spirit than the men themselves. The Carmen was a fine actress 
but did not sing beautifully. The rest of the cast were very 
good, both dramatically and vocally. We are still eagerly 
awaiting the return of Toscanini. 

We have found a charming friend in Mrs. Huddleston, the 
wife of the American vice-consul. Every Wednesday after- 
noon she gives a tea at her home for all the American students 
who care to come. We went on Wednesday and met some 
delightful people. So go the days and the sun shines much 
more frequently which is a joy. 

Yours with my heart's love, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Milano, Italy, 
March 24, 1927 



Dear Friends of My Heart: 



At last, Milano is giving me something about which to 
write. If only Toscanini could know how much difference 
his return to Italy has made in the life of one American old 
maid, I am sure he would feel flattered. I say Toscanini with- 
out the Signore because my Italian teacher says that in speak- 
ing of a celebrated personage you omit the Signore. In Amer- 
ica that would be utterly bad form. Strange how that which 
is a gaucherie in one country is the accepted usage of another. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 77 

It leads one to reflect that conventions are after all merely 
a matter of custom while true politeness is a matter of the 
heart. 

For the last week Milano has shown us her smiling face 
and when she really smiles she is lovely. Today, to be sure, 
it is raining and thundering, but then one must permit even 
Italy some tears and frowns. We none of us "look pleasant" 
all the time. 

Sunday we heard "Turandot." You will remember that 
we heard it in Dresden (in German) and that I well-nigh 
promised myself never to hear it again. But I knew that until 
I had heard it in the original tongue and interpreted by Puc- 
cini's countrymen, I could not judge it justly. Toscanini did 
not conduct, but the task was admirably handled. La Scala 
makes of "Turandot" a marvelous spectacle, and if it failed 
to appeal to me in the opera house for which it was created and 
where its composer is most perfectly understood, I can hardly 
conceive that it could appeal anywhere. The music is, of 
course, far more ambitious in its harmonic structure than any- 
thing Puccini ever attempted. It seems like "an attempt." 
That is just the word. Like an effort at ultra-modernism for 
which the melodic and rather popular genius of the composer 
was utterly unfitted. 

The story is rather revolting. The constant blare of the 
orchestra in the effort to portray the Chinese character is a bit 
nerve-racking and while, notably in the role of Liu, there are 
beautiful and "Pucciniesque" spots, they are not frequent 
enough to relieve the constant nerve tension. I may, of course, 
be utterly wrong. But to me it seems that in twenty years 
"Turandot" will be far more dead than its composer who, 
though not one of the world's greatest geniuses, will still live 
in "Tosca" and "Butterfly" and "Boheme." 

Last night we heard an opera of altogether another type. 
The time-worn, world-wide "Lucia"; and yet, not any "Lucia" 
with which I was familiar, many times as I have heard the 
opera. For, with Toscanini in the conductor's stand and with 
Toti DalMonte in the title role and Aureliano Pertile in that 



78 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

of Lord Ravenswood, "Lucia" was something to dream of for 
the rest of one's life. The "Wizard of La Scala" and his 
artfsts took this wornout, trite, harmonically thin, utterly old- 
fashioned opera and made of it a thing of dramatic content 
and exquisite beauty of which it is difficult to conceive. I 
really feel that as a performance it was the most perfect which 
I have ever heard. 

If Toti DalMonte has failed to capture American audiences, 
the reflection is on us, not on her. If we are so bent on seek- 
ing sensationalism that we fail to appreciate a voice which, 
though small, is utterly perfect of its kind, then the fault is 
ours. A string of flawless pearls, a clear, rippling pool, an 
exquisite miniature, this is the voice of Toti DalMonte. She 
does not stoop to the tricks: the eternal holding of one high 
note, the over-emphasis on mere display of technic, which has 
robbed the role of Lucia of all its tender appeal and degen- 
erated it into a mere vocal exercise. Toti DalMonte recreated 
it into a piece of exquisite lyricism, throbbing with tender 
emotion, and its vocal demands were merely incidents which 
she met with such ease, such utter and unconscious achievement 
that one thought of them not at all. They were but a part 
of the beautiful whole. 

As for the tenor, whose very name I had never heard, he 
is, of all the tenors I have known, one of the most satisfying 
and I realize that this is saying much. Altogether last night's 
performance did much to discount for me the adverse criti- 
cisms of Toscanini made by a few very young American 
students. 

Yesterday afternoon, we visited "The Castello," one of 
Milano's proudest possessions. It belonged to the Familia Di 
Sforza, who are to Milano what other great families of the 
nobility which I have mentioned are to other cities. The Cas- 
tello dates back to the fourteenth century and contains, like all 
these old palaces, sculpture and pictures and creations of art 
of all kinds. (There is a statue of Agrippina, the Mother of 
the Neros, which interested me much.) There are also quan- 
tities of old furniture and old costumes. The castle has a 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 79 

drawbridge and a moat. Into the latter, the bodies of enemies 
were thrown; they were carried to the top of the castle and 
from this great height were flung down into the black water 
below. This seems a thing too terrible to contemplate, but 
is, perhaps, not more barbarous or cruel than many things 
which the world of the twentieth century permitted in the late 
war. When, ah when, will the dictum of the Master which 
bids us love our enemies and thus win them to love us, come 
to be the accepted code of a world which, then, and not until 
then, shall be a fitting abode for men created in the image 
and likeness of God and meant to create His kingdom on 
earth. 

I am daily struggling with this Italian language, but I 
begin to realize that I am probably too old and too stupid ever 
to master it. I never knew a language with such long words. 
For example, "percipitevolissimente." There, take that. It 
means in great haste, though how you could ever hasten with 
that mouthful is more than I know. I recommend it as a vocal 
exercise to some of my "J enrue tight- jaws." 

Some time I hope to be able to write something intelli- 
gent about the Italy of Mussolini, but not yet. I know too 
little. 

With all the love of my heart for my beloved Home Folk, 
I am, 

Yours as always, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Milano, Italy. 
April 25, 1927 
Beloved Friends: 

As I write the above date, I realize with surprise how long 
it has been since I have written a single line. To you indi- 
vidually, I have, of course, sent little gossipy letters, but for 
the first time since I came, there seems to have been nothing 
worthy of a detailed story. 



80 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

This does not mean that the days have been dull or with- 
out pleasure. On the contrary, the past three weeks have 
surely transformed my impressions of Italy. How stupid I 
was to imagine that Italy is like Florida. I have learned more 
about its latitude and I know now that to expect spring in 
February in Milano is just as absurd as it would be to expect 
it at that time in Cleveland. 

In the past three weeks, however, she has fully justified 
the cognomen "sunny Italy." The days have been a procession 
of Spring fairies clad in radiant blue and gold and marching 
to an accompaniment of bird song and the laughter of happy 
children. And the sunsets! Ah, the sunsets: streamers of 
gold and crimson and rose falling over a sky of cerulean blue. 
Days for dreaming, for floating upon a sea of fleeting fancies, 
for loving all created things, but not, alas, days for setting 
oneself seriously to any task. So it is that I have drifted idly 
through the hours, walking whenever I could persuade any 
kindly spirit to squander time with me; and sitting in the Pub- 
lic Gardens, pretending to study the Italian language but really 
drinking in the beauty and listening to the children at play 
all about me. 

And oh, but I have grown young. Listen, my children. 
The other day I climbed to the very tippiest top of the Duomo, 
five hundred steep, winding steps straight into the very heart 
of the statue of the Virgin. Came home, ate lunch, went out, 
and walked most of the afternoon. Can you out-record that? 
Yesterday we walked from our pension to the Castello Park. 
It is impossible to learn distances here. You ask them how 
far any place is and they reply (from Florence to Rome, for 
example) , ten hours. Well, from here to the Castello is forty- 
five minutes good brisk walking. We walked there and back, 
with, of course, an hour of rest in the Castello Park. And 
in the evening we went to a concert at the Conservatorio and 
walked home, a distance of fifteen minutes, as our Italian 
friends say. You see, I am growing vainglorious. When I 
return I will undertake a walking match with anybody who 
has the courage to attempt. I dare you all. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 81 

La Scala has done nothing for the past three weeks but 
give premier performances and festival performances; and 
last night a performance of "Rigoletto" for Prince Humberto, 
all these with prices in X sharp. Our bank account is attuned 
to no such altitude; so La Scala has been compelled to dis- 
pense with our presence, a fact which I am sure must have 
caused both the artists and Toscanini much regret if not actual 
sorrow. 

For the past week or more, Milano has been indulging in 
an industrial exposition, like those which we often have at 
home. They say it is very beautiful. Many countries are rep- 
resented, Switzerland having a marvelous display. I have not 
seen it, but Esther went and was charmed with it. As one can 
touch nothing and as my imagination does not seem to grasp 
automobiles that I cannot touch, and laces and watches, as 
well as it does pictures and statues, I have not been eager to go. 

Besides, just now my days are more than full with the last 
things. Yes, I am leaving Milano next week. But before 
that I am going to Genoa for two or three days, taking with me 
a charming woman whom I have met here, an American, who 
has lived in Italy for some time. Her name is Mrs. Roege, and 
she is both intelligent and delightful. So cheer up, friends, 
next time I shall really have something to write about. 

On next Tuesday I leave Milano for Florence. I have 
been waiting until Esther should decide whether or not she 
was going to go to Paris or remain in Italy for the next six 
months. She has decided upon the latter and is staying in 
Milano. Therefore, I go alone. 

I have always been utterly fearless about traveling alone 
in America and have gone from Boston to Nebraska and from 
New York to Chicago without a tremor. At first, the idea 
of traveling alone in a country whose language I murder every 
time I utter a word, rather appalled me. But I have spoken 
to "Enit," the government railway agency, and they assure 
me that I shall not have the slightest difficulty. I have written 
the American Consul at Florence, and he has given me the 
name of a pension to whose proprietress I have also written. 



82 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

So now I am looking forward to the whole experience as to a 
high adventure. From Florence to Rome and from Rome to 
Paris, and then once more to the noblest land in all the world. 

This afternoon we were at the Brera Art Gallery. This 
is Milan's chief art collection and while it is nothing to com- 
pare to those of Dresden and Munich, still it was interesting. 
A picture of the baptism of Jesus by Veronese, stands out 
vividly in my consciousness, for the grandeur and beauty of 
the divine face. The Brera Palazzo was originally a Catholic 
college. It is built round an open court, and one can stand 
on the balcony and look down. The structure is truly Italian, 
and very charming. 

And now for Genoa and may the sun god prove propitious. 

Yours, with the same, unchanging love, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Milano, Italy. 
April 30, 1927 
My Beloved at Home: 

In point of time, Genoa is from Milano a matter of three 
hours, but in point of experience, it is from earth to Heaven. 

Walking the level, thronged, unpicturesque streets of 
Milano, it is impossible to believe that in three hours one may 
reach a spot where a radiant sea kisses the feet of verdure-clad 
mountains, where great ships glide into a harbor which shelters 
craft from every corner of the globe and where sea and sky 
bathe the earth in sapphire splendor. How men ever dreamed 
such a city, far less realized the dream, is a miracle. A great 
city, throbbing with life, which hangs from the side of the 
mountain as if it might at any moment drop into the waiting 
arms of the sea which sweeps its base, literally, a city per- 
pendicular. The side streets are steps which climb the steep 
ascent of the mountain for hundreds of feet. The city is like 
a mighty amphitheater one tier piled upon another. 

To climb five or six hundred steps in order to get home 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 83 

for dinner seems to mean nothing to these Genoese. To be 
sure they have trams and buses, and an elevator takes them 
up to the fifth level, but these are utterly inadequate during 
the rush hours. 

Each new level seems, somehow, like a different city with 
its own topography and atmosphere. 

I was fortunate in having as a companion a woman who 
had lived in Genoa and who knows it like a book. Thanks 
to her, I saw more and felt more of the city's life and of its 
essential spirit in three days than I might otherwise have been 
able to do in as many weeks. 

Genoa has, as it were, a personality all its own. The spell 
which it casts upon you pervades all your being and will live 
in dreams as long as dreams endure. They call it a great com- 
mercial city, but to me, this is not true in any sense as it is 
true of Milano. The latter is essentially material, but about 
the most commonplace activities of Genoa, about its wealth 
poured into it from every quarter of the earth, about its busy 
marts and its beauty-filled shops, there is a romance, a vision, 
a dream of high achievement which transforms its daily life 
into the mystery and splendor of a fairy tale. Its very existence 
seems like magic. Nothing short of the reckless daring which 
refused to recognize the difficulties involved and which would 
not stop to count the cost, could have wrought this marvel. 

Here, even the most commonplace details of daily life are 
unique. 

Over-arching all the side streets, which are steps, is a 
veritable network of clothes-lines which extend across from 
the windows of one house to those of the one opposite. They 
are interwoven and criss-crossed. Every story of every house 
has them and every day seems to be wash day in Genoa. Every- 
thing washable hangs there for your beholding and as far as 
the eye can reach, are similar stretches of line similarly filled, 
a veritable symphony in laundry. It is utterly indescribable. I 
am tempted to indulge in a cheap witticism and say that it is 
an achievement in "high art." 

When my guide could drag me away from the clothes lines, 



84 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

she took me to the university. A far cry? Yes, but not more 
interesting. This university is over four hundred years old 
but it still throbs with the eager youth of the land. The boys 
were everywhere. My friend described the strange caps they 
wore, but mere description would not satisfy my feminine 
curiosity; so when we came upon a group of students I ex- 
plained in Italian that I do not see and asked if I might touch 
one of the caps. Instantly a dozen were removed for my 
inspection. In shape they are for all the world like a boat. 
At each end is a tassel. One of these dangles down on the 
wearer's neck in the back and the other hits him on the nose 
in front. They are gray trimmed with red braid, the shade of 
red varying according to the course to which they belong, one 
shade for the classics, another for the sciences. 

After leaving the university we took the "Funicular" and 
went up a little mountain called Righi. The Apennines are 
utterly different from their sisters, the Alps. The latter are 
cold, grand and forbidding. The former are everywhere clad 
in green and are brooding, friendly, companionable. I love 
the Alps as I saw them at Interlaken, with a love which has 
in it both admiration and fear; but I adore the Apennines 
with a love that is friendship and a sense of enfolding 
tenderness. 

The hour we spent on the Righi is one of the happiest of 
all my memories. We took tea in, or rather outside, of the 
dearest little tea room. We were served by one of those gentle, 
gracious Italians that I am learning to know as a very frequent 
type. He gave us delicious tea and toast and he brought us 
a lovely spray of lilac from his garden. When he saw what 
joy its perfume gave to me, he went away and returned with 
a great cluster of lovely fragrant blossoms: lilies of the valley, 
freesia, every dear garden flower. They were a joy, not only 
in themselves, but for the kindly thought which prompted 
their giving. 

The next morning which, by the way, was Friday, we went 
'6y tram to Nervi, a small Mediterranean town which is a 
favorite summer resort. My friend, who knows the Riviera 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 85 

from one end to the other, says that it has no more beautiful 
spot. We sat outside a tiny cafe looking over the water, and 
watched the ships and the soft beauty of sky and sea. It was 
not one of those brilliant, blue days. A soft haze hung over 
everything and sea and mountain wore a filmy gray veil. 

The Mediterranean is marvelously beautiful in this mood 
and, to me, has none of the terror of the Atlantic. But my 
friend says that this is because I have not seen it in a storm. 
Nowhere else in all the world, I am sure, is it possible to find 
at once the beauty of sea and the majesty of mountain, so 
meeting and enhancing each other. 

We took the train back because it is much quicker than 
the tram and we read and rested the remainder of the 
afternoon. 

That evening we found a restaurant which was rather better 
than any we had struck before and had almost a meal. No- 
where in Genoa is the food very good. After dinner we took 
one of the elevators which goes up to about the fifth level. 
It is impossible to describe the panorama which spread out 
before us. The houses on the levels above, built as they are 
on the solid rock, look higher than any New York skyscraper. 
Some of them are really six or seven stories, but looking up 
to them they appear twenty or more. Looking down, one sees 
the roofs of the houses which we passed as we came up. Far 
as the eye can reach gleam the lights of other houses which 
cling to the sides of the mountain rising terrace on terrace. 
These friendly lights shine out from homes where men and 
women and little children live and love and laugh and suffer 
and achieve, and over all, God's brooding, tender sky, the out- 
ward symbol of his infinite love for all his children. 

The principal business street of Genoa is called "Via Venti 
Settembre." I tried to learn what had happened on the 20th 
of September to give the street its name, but did not succeed. 

There is also a street called "The Street of the Thirteen 
Palaces." It literally has thirteen great palazzos within a dis- 
tance of about two of our blocks. Most of these seem to have 
belonged to the Dorio family. The Dorios are to Genoa what 



86 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

the Sforzas are to Milano. They seem to have done much to 
enhance the fame and commercial greatness of the city; but 
for this, Genoa has paid far too great a price. The Dorios 
made their wealth by literally stripping the Apennines of their 
timber so that for miles and miles there is not a tree of any 
consequence. Great trees which had required centuries to grow 
were ruthlessly cut down by them and the thin soil now 
left on the rocks will never grow timber again. The Dorios 
waxed rich and powerful, through many generations, and I 
suppose thought that what they did for Genoa atoned for this 
destruction of her richest treasure, but to us it would not 
seem so. 

On Saturday morning, we went down into the very poorest 
part of Old Genoa. Ah, that I had some magic by which 
to describe to you one little street which we saw. It was 
literally lined with tiny junk shops. All their wares were out 
on the street. Such a collection I never imagined. Every con- 
ceivable thing was there, from stoves and kettles to old shoes 
and wornout hand bags. The kettles and stoves looked as if 
they had been there fifty years and were so thick with dust 
that you could not see what they were made of. There was 
one old sewing machine which looked like the first one ever 
invented. The whole street was about a block long, but the 
last end of it suddenly became much better. We even saw 
one man making an attempt to wash the windows in his shop, 
and I am sure that nothing else on that street had ever been 
washed since time began. 

From this scene of a city's reproach, we went to the very 
loveliest thing which I saw in Genoa, excepting, of course, the 
sunset on Righi. . But that was God-made, while this was 
wrought by the hand of man. It was a small church called the 
"Immaculate Conception." We were attracted to it by the 
fact that a wedding party was coming out from its doors. "All 
the world loves a lover" and so of course we joined the throng 
of onlookers. She was a charming little Italian bride, very 
young and childlike. After they had entered their carriages 
we went into the church. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 87 

It was not one of those great, cold, impersonal cathedrals 
of which one finds so many in Italy. It was small, exquisite, 
worshipful. The altars were covered with the beautiful flowers 
from the wedding and the whole atmosphere of the place 
was human and tender. Its frescoes and its decorations were 
most lovely. The confessionals, of which there were fourteen, 
were like exquisite jewel cabinets, so beautiful was the carving 
and the silver. Of all the churches which I have seen, I loved 
this little, more or less unknown jewel the best. When we 
turned our faces back toward Milano, as we did about two on 
Saturday afternoon, I felt that I was leaving behind one of the 
loveliest spots in all the world and taking with me the memory 
of three beautiful and perfect days. 

Sunday and Monday in Milano are a hectic memory. There 
were so many last things to be done, a dressmaker to see for 
the last time, tickets to be bought, all the hundred details which 
going away from a place where one has been for some time 
always involves. 

For the first time, poor Esther was obliged to sacrifice her 
practice on Monday. I do not think, however, that her work 
would have amounted to much, for she seemed to realize for 
the first time that she was going to be left without a "ma 
Jane" to scold and trouble about her, and she was a bit blue. 
It was doubly difficult for her because her Maestro, Signore 
Aldrovandi, was leaving for Rome where he is to hold a 
position as head of concerts in Italy. Therefore she is obliged 
to find a new Maestro. However, she has the guidance of our 
wonderful Italian teacher, Signorina Borchetta, who is one of 
the most remarkable women, as well as the very finest teacher 
of language whom I have ever known. This same Signorina 
Borchetta has given to me an idea of what high-bred Italian 
women are, which fills me with an almost worshipful admira- 
tion. She is a queen of a girl, and to know her and study under 
her guidance has been both a joy and an inspiration. The fact 
that she is in Milano has done much toward reconciling me 
to leaving my child there alone. 

It has always been my proud boast that I did not know 



88 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

the meaning of the word "fear." It is, therefore, humiliating 
to admit that, when I first resolved to go to Florence and 
Rome alone, I felt some secret misgivings. I try to save my 
self-respect by thinking that these misgivings were induced 
largely by the attitude of other people. Many of these seemed 
to think I had departed my reason to imagine that I could go 
about unattended in a strange country whose language I speak 
about as well as the Pole who, when he landed in America, 
knew just two words, "cow" and "boy." 

Perhaps this is hardly fair to my Maestra. My Italian really 
seems to have stood me in much better stead than the com- 
parison would imply; but, of course, it leaves much to be de- 
sired, in spite of the efforts of my teacher. However, whether 
my secret trepidation, and I assure you, it was secret, for I do 
not believe that even Esther dreamed it, were the result of 
suggestion or of my own failure to measure up, I am sure 
that this experience has cured me of every vestige of the fear 
germ, from henceforth and forever more. Anything more 
simple than traveling alone in this land of kind hearts could 
not be imagined. 

I left Milano Tuesday morning, May 3rd, at ten o'clock. 
My dear Italian Maestra brought me a great bunch of lilies 
of the valley which were a joy all the long day. I was not 
to reach Florence until half -past five in the afternoon. Under 
those circumstances, one settles oneself and feels none of the 
restlessness attendant upon a short trip. It was almost sum- 
mer-warm, but fortunately the compartment was not crowded. 
The only people who seemed to be there for the day were a 
German and his wife. I was humiliated to find how utterly 
my German seems to have vanished. If I tried to say a word, 
only Italian came to my tongue. I thought with envy of my 
hotel clerk at Genoa, who spoke to me in excellent English, to 
the next person in perfect French, then turned and told a man 
in very fine German just where his room was and what he 
must do, and then gave a curt, clear order to a bellboy in 
Italian. Such linguistic facility is beyond my poor com- 
prehension. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 89 

When we reached Bologna there entered the compartment 
a young man and a most charming little Italian girl. My 
hunch told me almost immediately that this was a bridal couple, 
although they were most discreet. I truly tried to control that 
human interest germ of mine which always draws me in spite 
of myself into the lives of other people; and which probably 
often makes of me that terrible thing, "the interfering old 
maid." But now, as always, it was too much for me. So after 
a while, I began asking the young man questions about the 
mountains through which we were passing. I say "through 
which" because in all my life I have never seen so many tunnels. 
The Italians seem not to go over mountains as we do but 
always to tunnel through them. The young man was most 
intelligent and told me many interesting things, but the little 
girl said almost nothing. At last I said, "I have guessed some- 
thing, but perhaps I dare not say this." By the way, this con- 
versation was entirely in Italian, so please give me a little 
credit even if my German was a failure. Instantly they were 
both all eagerness. 

"Dica, dica," they exclaimed. "Well," I said, touching the 
girl's hand, "I guess that this is a little sposa di maggio (May 
bride) and that this is the one journey most grand in all the 
life." They were delighted. The little bride whispered to 
her husband to ask me how I knew. I told her that I could 
not say exactly how, certainly not because of any lack of dis- 
cretion on their part, but perhaps because she was so sweet 
and dear. After that, he was my friend for life. Two bridal 
parties within a week. So you see, even though I have failed 
to land my Italian count, I can at least stand on the outside 
and look in. 

When we reached Florence, a half dozen people hastened 
to secure a "fachino" for me. I took a taxi and went to a 
pension, the name of which had been given me by the Enit 
railway agency of whom I bought my ticket. The pension was 
attractive, but full ; or better, full because attractive. So I took 
another taxi and went to a small hotel called "Hotel D'ltalia." 
It was most unpretentious. My room had no place to hang 



90 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

clothes and no running water. But it was clean, and the cuisine 
was very good. 

Next morning when I asked them to call a "carrozza" so 
that I might go to the American Consul, the clerk immediately 
said, "Oh, there is no need of a carrozza, the Consul is just 
a step." When I explained that I could not go alone, he at 
once sent one of the bellboys with me. Thus do these kindly 
people make all things easy for the stranger within their 
gates. 

The American Vice-Consul, Mr. Hurd of California, 
recommended me to this pension, "Pensione Karola, Via 
Robbia 82." He spoke with authority as to its superiority over 
most Italian pensions because he himself lives here. I have 
found it by far the most delightful place in which I have lived 
in Italy. 

My next problem was to secure a guide. This meant not 
merely some one with eyes to go about the streets with me. In 
an ordinary city that would be the only requirement. But in 
Florence it must needs be one who knew, not only Florence, 
but all in art, history, and letters for which this marvelous city 
so preeminently stands. A large order indeed, but here again 
the American Consul was my wise and willing helper. They 
knew an American woman who had for years been head of 
a most select school for girls in New York City, and she 
literally knows everything. She has been and is wonderful to 
me, not only showing me everything with keen grasp and 
intelligence but reading to me much which enables me better 
to understand what we see. 

Of this marvelous city, the birthplace of Italian art and 
literature, and, by that sign, of the art and literature of the 
whole modern world, so much has been written and said that I 
utterly despair of adding anything of value. In my next letter 
I shall attempt only and solely to tell you what I have been 
able, through Miss Fawcett's wonderful vision, to see; and give 
you the impressions which that vision has made upon me. 

As always, I am wholy and with my heart yours, 

Almeda C. Adams 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 91 

Florence 

Note 

For reasons which it will itself explain, this letter was not 
written until after my return to America. I must therefore 
ask your indulgence for any seeming discrepancies. Chrono- 
logically however, this is the point in the narrative to which 
it belongs. 

No spot in all Europe, not even "the Immortal City," in- 
trigued me as did Florence. Its very name spells magic — 
Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, from whose blood-drenched 
soil sprang the divinest geniuses which the world of art has 
yet known; the Florence of Masaccio, Giotto, and Ghiberti, 
of Brunelleschi, Donatello, and the Delia Robbias, of Botti- 
celli, and Fra Angelico, of Rafael and Michelangelo; the 
Florence of Dante and his Beatrice ; city which saw the Medici 
rise to the zenith of their power in Lorenzo the Magnificent, 
and wane to their decline after Cosimo the First; city for whose 
sin Savonarola died. 

From its narrow streets rise some of the most beautiful 
structures which the world has known, and its statues are the 
glory of modern sculpture. 

When I reached Florence on that lovely May afternoon, I 
had but a vague knowledge of all this, yet the very air thrilled 
me with a vivid sense of contact with all the beauty and 
splendor of the past. The magic grew during every moment 
of the two weeks which I spent in this Dream City. Yet I am 
sure that my story of Florence will be less vital than anything 
I have written. The reason for this, you will realize when you 
read the Rome letter. The bare facts are that my guide and 
I worked so hard and so late every day that I did not have 
time, or thought I did not, to write my Florence story from 
day to day. I took copious notes, thinking to write my story 
afterward from them. Then, at the very outset of my Rome 
sojourn I lost them all. This means more than, perhaps, you 
may realize, for these notes were taken in the evening after 



92 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

a long day of intensive sight-seeing; moreover, they were 
pricked out, dot by dot, with a stylus, that they might afterward 
be read with the finger. I am therefore compelled to write the 
story of Florence from memory, supplemented by subsequent 
reading. I wish here to acknowledge my indebtedness for the 
accuracy of my statements to "A Wanderer in Florence," by 
Lucas, and by the way, let me suggest that if you have never 
read this most fascinating of all travel books, you have a rare 
treat awaiting you. 

On our first morning, my guide took me at once to the very 
heart of historic Florence, the cathedral of "Santa Maria del 
Fiore," Saint Mary of the Flowers, the flower, of course, being 
the Florentine lily. On our way, we passed through "Via 
Calzaioli," Street of the Stocking-makers, and "Via Pecori," 
Street of the Sheep. As one stands before the cathedral, its 
chief external beauty is the Dome of Brunelleschi, which rears 
its massive strength proudly to meet the liquid blue of the 
Italian sky. This dome is really two domes, one within the 
other, tied together with stone, which is the reason why, viewed 
from the interior, it appears almost disappointingly low. The 
first impression made upon me by the interior of the Duomo 
was that of an immensity so dim and strange as to be almost 
terrifying. I had an irresistible impulse to beg my guide to 
take me out again into the warmth of the sunshine. Almost 
the only light is admitted by the circular windows at the base 
of the dome, and this is so high that I could not discern it by 
any sense. The windows of the main structure are so dimmed 
with age as to admit practically no light. It was not until Miss 
Fawcett showed me the baptismal font with its two exquisite 
angels that this sense of chill terror began to fade. The font 
is six hundred years old, and the fact that it is still beautiful 
somehow made me feel that this vast, dim sanctuary was no 
longer the abode of grim and ghostly shadows, but of great 
and gifted souls, the treasures of whose genius it enshrines. 
My guide told me that the main building was completed in 
1370, while the competition for the design of the dome was 
announced in 14 18. This was ultimately won by Brunelleschi. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 93 

The mighty structure was reared without scaffolding and re- 
quired fourteen years for its construction. The Duomo was 
finally dedicated in 1436, and Brunelleschi lived to see it. We 
saw the statue of St. John the Evangelist, by Donatello, the 
massive figure seated and giving an impression of infinite 
calm. Also a picture of Dante. By this time I began to feel 
as much at home in the fourteenth century as in the twentieth. 
When at last we stood before the altar and my guide de- 
scribed to me the lovely "Pieta" of Michelangelo, every 
vestige of fear and shrinking vanished, and the place seemed 
somehow to take me into its arms and make me one with all 
its past. Yet the Duomo had its tragedy. Here, before the 
Choir at High Mass on April 26, 1478, was assassinated 
Giuliano de'Medici, younger brother of Lorenzo the Magnifi- 
cent, whose life was attempted at the same time. He escaped 
with a wound in the neck, and ultimately triumphed utterly 
over his enemies the Pazzi, who, with the connivance of Pope 
Sixtus the Fourth, had planned the murder of the two Medici. 
Thus, through all Florence, is blended the rarest beauty of art 
which genius can create and the most tragic cruelty of which 
humanity is capable. That the Florence of Michelangelo and 
the gentle Fra Angelico should have been the same Florence 
which killed Savonarola seems almost incredible. Everywhere 
this startling contrast between the Florence of Art and the 
Florence of History baffles one's conception. 

We went into the "Museo del Duomo," which is noted 
for its Delia Robbia Cantoria or singing children. Beside the 
Duomo stands the Campanile (bell tower) , its slender, delicate 
grace forming a charming contrast to the massive strength and 
somberness of the Cathedral. It was designed originally by 
Giotto, and its first stone was laid, so my guide told me, on 
July 18, 1334. Giotto died in 1336; so he never saw more 
than the beginnings of his dream. Mark Antony's words, 
"The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred 
with their bones," seem to me to be reversed in the case of 
artists. The beauty which they create seems eternal and is to 
them an assurance of immortality in the memory and love of 



94 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

humanity. To me the Campanile seemed a thing so vital that 
it upsprings from the earth by its own vivid impulse. In 
actual fact, it is but 276 feet in height, but it gives an impres- 
sion of reaching toward the sky. The fleur-de-lis round the base 
of the tower are exquisite. One sees them everywhere in 
Florence, and they seem as much a part of her as do the Medici 
balls, the insignia of that greatest of Florentine families, which 
also confronts one at every turn. Turning reluctantly from 
the Campanile, we crossed the narrow street to the historic 
Baptistry, the first cathedral of Florence. It dates from the 
seventh or eighth century, but as it at present stands, is prob- 
ably largely of the thirteenth. It is octagonal in form, and 
is rich in color, both without and within. The floor is a marvel 
of inlaid work. I wanted to get down on my knees and study 
it. Here Dante walked, worshiping both its beauty and its 
God. "Ah, my beautiful San Giovanni," he called it, and he 
watched, an obscure spectator, while his beloved Beatrice was 
wedded to another. One feels that the Baptistry should have 
been the final resting place of the poet, and that the beautiful 
tomb whose sculpture is one of its richest treasures should 
belong to him rather than to the licentious Pope John the 
Twenty-third who was so wicked that he was deposed and im- 
prisoned, but whose tomb in the Baptistry is one of the most 
beautiful in the world. But the most remarkable thing about 
the Baptistry one sees from without, namely its marvelous 
bronze doors. Miss Fawcett showed me first the "Pisano Doors," 
which are now at the south entrance. I had read of the 
Baptistry doors, but had never been able to conceive that any- 
thing made of so unplastic a material as bronze could be 
beautiful. The Pisano Doors represent twenty scenes from 
the life of John the Baptist, and below these, eight figures 
of the cardinal virtues. Nothing which I saw later in Florence 
so amazed me. In the scene of the "Baptism of Jesus," John 
is represented with the water up to the waist, and when I 
touched it, it actually seemed liquid under my fingers. From 
the Pisano Doors my guide took me to the far-famed Ghiberti 
Doors. In 1399 announcement was made of a competition for 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 95 

the designs of doors for the Baptistry. The only two whose 
designs were seriously considered were Lorenzo Ghiberti, a 
goldsmith, aged twenty-one, and Filippo Brunelleschi, also a 
goldsmith, aged twenty-two. The award, made in 1401, was 
given to Ghiberti. Brunelleschi' s defeat proved, as is so often 
the case, a victory in disguise. Disappointed, he left Florence 
and went to Rome, where he turned his attention to architec- 
ture, and returned ultimately to build the dome of the new 
cathedral. Two scenes on the Ghiberti Doors are supremely 
lovely, the Annunciation and the Adoration. Ghiberti com- 
pleted these doors in 1424, and was immediately commissioned 
to make another set from his own designs. These are now on 
the east side. On the second set Ghiberti wrought from 1424 
to 1452, a lifetime given to the making of four bronze doors. 
But such doors! Of them, Michelangelo said, "They are 
worthy to be the gates of Paradise." Wrought in a medium, 
seemingly the hardest, coldest, and most unresponsive, yet so 
plastic, so flowing, so gracious are they that even to my touch 
they were beautiful beyond belief. At the end of my first morn- 
ing in Florence, I said to my guide, "Well, if this is Florence 
then Florence must be the vestibule of Heaven." She laughed 
at my enthusiasm, but she promised that I would not be dis- 
appointed. We went home in one of those dear little carozzas, 
which everybody takes in Florence, drawn by a nice Italian 
horse. At least, I suppose he is Italian; that is, his language 
at any rate, because the drivers talk to them all the time. 

Lunch at Pensione Karola is a much more enjoyable thing 
than I found it in Milan. Being fond neither of spaghetti nor 
of oil, I have found the food in Italy impossible. But at 
Pensione Karola, they have entertained so many Americans 
that they have at least some conception of the type of food 
which appeals to us. At the Pensione was a lovely English 
woman who immediately introduced herself to me, and said 
that she would gladly be of any help possible. The vice-consul 
and his wife, too, were very kind. Altogether, my bugaboo 
about traveling about Europe alone melted into thin air before 
the second day of my stay was over. In the afternoon, we 



96 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

walked on the Ponte Vecchio, that famous old bridge which 
has witnessed so many tragedies as well as so many comedies. 
I believe it is the work of Taddeo Gaddi, but I am not sure. 

Miss Fawcett took me for tea to a lovely English tea-room, 
and I disgraced myself by eating everything there was in sight. 
Oh, this afternoon tea habit! I doubt if I shall ever recover 
from it, although before I went to Europe I never thought of 
such a thing. 

At Pensione Karola there was a little page, a child not 
more than ten or twelve years old, who always met me at 
the door and insisted upon escorting me up two flights of stairs 
to my room in spite of my assurance that this was not necessary. 

If you walk along Via Martelli to the point where it be- 
comes Via Cavour, your eye will instantly be attracted by the 
palace which for generations sheltered the most powerful 
family of Florence. For one hundred and fifty years, from 
1421, when Giovanni de'Medici was elected president of the 
Florentine Republic, to 1575, the year which witnessed the 
death of Cosimo the First, Grand Duke of Tuscany, the 
Medici ruled Florence and made her brilliant history. It 
would seem that Florence could not always live with the 
Medici, but certainly she could not live without them for any 
length of time. Three times they were banished, only to return 
with increased power and influence. So secure was their 
position, that at times it was transmitted by heredity from 
father to son. Their family tree abounds in Cosimos, Pieros, 
Giulianos, and Lorenzos, but the most illustrious name is that 
of "Lorenzo the Magnificent," during whose regime Florence 
reached the zenith of its splendor both politically and artisti- 
cally. It was he who took Michelangelo into his home and 
treated him as his own son. 

All this I learned one lovely May morning as I walked 
down Via Cavour with my guide on our way to the Palace of 
the Medici. Not that I had never read of the achievements 
of that notable family and their relation to art, but on this 
morning the story ceased to be mere history and seemed sud- 
denly to become a vital part of my own life and experience. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 97 

The palace is now called "Palazzo Eiccardi" because the 
Eiccardi family bought it. Its richest art treasure is found 
in the little chapel at the head of the stairs, which enshrines 
the Gozzoli frescoes, a spot so gay and fascinating that it is 
difficult to credit the story that Gozzoli did all this marvelous 
work by candle light. My guide described to me particularly 
the Meadows of Paradise, with their angels, their roses, and 
their cypresses and more cypresses. All the figures represent 
either members of the Medici family or other Florentine 
notables. 

From the palace, a step brings you to the beautiful church 
of San Lorenzo. San Lorenzo is very old, having already been 
restored as early as the eleventh century. The interior, as it 
now stands, is the design of Brunelleschi. On this church 
the Medici lavished a wealth of treasure. The Piazza in which 
it stands is at present the cheap clothing district of Florence. 
The contrast between its external surroundings and its interior 
beauty is fairly startling. To me this contrast is sharpened 
by the fact that the facade has never been completed and is 
merely rough bricks. Within, it is a blending of cool, gray 
arches and ceilings, rich in gold and color. 

It is the final resting place of many of the Medici. Its 
one blemish is its "Chapel of the Princes," wherein are buried 
many of the less notable members of the family. This is of 
the seventeenth century. On its floor alone, a fortune has 
been spent, to no purpose so far as art is concerned. From its 
garish ugliness one passes directly into the most beautiful 
temple in all the world — the chapel of Michelangelo. Its 
severe and solemn grandeur creates an atmosphere perceptible, 
even to one to whom the glory of the vision is denied. To me, 
this chapel in San Lorenzo was more deeply impressive than 
even the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican. 

The tea-rooms, of which there seems to be an unlimited 
number, are an institution in Florence. Everyone who is any- 
body goes to some one of them for afternoon tea, and the 
chief topic of dinner conversation among the Americans at 
Pensione Karola seems to be what they had for tea and with 



98 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

whom they had it. Now I do not claim to be anybody in par- 
ticular, but I became addicted as much to the tea-rooms as any 
of the rest. I never ate such delicious little cakes. My guide 
took me to a new tea-room each day, and I was unable to de- 
cide which was the best. 

We are proud, and perhaps justly so, if pride is ever justi- 
fiable, of our organized charities. But there is in Florence an 
organization which has existed for centuries, whose methods 
seem to me almost the highest ideal of social service. It is 
called "The Misericordia." It was founded by a common 
porter named Pietro Borsi. Its membership includes some of 
the noblest blood in Florence as well as some of the humblest. 
They are absolutely pledged to respond instantly to any call 
for aid whatsoever. If there is an accident, in five minutes 
you see the Misericordia, in their black robes and hoods and 
masks, hastening to the scene of the trouble. The mask is 
worn because they do not wish to be known, or to receive any 
sort of public recognition of their service. Their lives are a 
literal interpretation of the command of Christ, "Let not thy 
right hand know what thy left hand doeth." No head-line 
publicity for them. 

Everyone who has read anything of Florence knows the 
Palazzo Vecchio, with Michelangelo's colossal David outlined 
against its dark gateway. But not everyone seems to know, 
even of those who have seen it, that this is not the original of 
the great statue, but a reproduction. The original stood there 
for three hundred and sixty-nine years, in fact, until 1873, 
when it was removed to the shelter of the Accademia to protect 
it from the weather. 

The Palazzo Vecchio was for centuries the seat of gov- 
ernment and was the scene of many a tragedy. Ultimately, 
it became a ducal palace. Every fagade is beautiful. The 
tower embodies exquisite grace with a massive strength. The 
four pillars on top of the stone structure used to support the 
great bells, the Vacca, which called all Florence to conference 
or to conflict. 

Near the Palazzo Vecchio is the beautiful Loggia de'Lanzi, 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 99 

with its three arches, and between it and the palace a tablet 
which tells you that on this spot, in 1498, Savonarola and two 
of his followers were put to death after days of torture. In- 
credible it seems that the city which bred Michelangelo and 
Rafael and the gentle Fra Angelico should have doomed Dante 
to banishment and killed Savonarola. 

I adored the lovely Verocchio fountain in the midst of 
the court at the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio. It is a be- 
witching little cupid, struggling with a spouting dolphin. I 
touched the pillars of this court, and they are lovely. Above 
it is a great hall whose distinction is that it is one of the largest 
rooms in the world without any supporting pillars. I cannot 
hope to picture for you all the beauty of this palace — the .Sale 
de Lys, with its lovely blue lily walls and its ceiling of gold 
and rose. Here again I felt an atmosphere of color and ex- 
quisite, enfolding tenderness. But in the tower of this palace 
is the cell five feet wide and eight feet long, with only loop- 
holes for air and light, where, for forty days, Savonarola was 
imprisoned, taken out only for the torture. 

I was amazed to find that there is in Florence a small, very 
small, Baptist church. My guide took me there on Sunday 
morning. They own no building, but meet in a small room. 
The people looked as if they belonged to the poorer class, but 
they sang with feeling the old hymns on which I was brought 
up, and listened with reverence to the sermon. Afterward 
we spoke to the wife of the pastor, whom Miss Fawcett knew. 
I expressed some surpise that a Protestant church was allowed 
to worship. She replied with a quiet smile, ' 'Allowed, but 
not encouraged." 

The shops of Florence are of course fascinating beyond 
words and utterly demoralizing to one's purse. The hand- 
wrought leather, the scarfs, the alabaster all tempt you to your 
economic undoing. As for the jewels of which they talk so 
much, I did not even look at them. 

I have never seen such narrow sidewalks. In many places 
it is utterly impossible for two people to walk together. You 
take to the street, and when a vehicle comes up behind you, you 



100 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

dash madly for the safety of the sidewalk. I confess to hav- 
ing found it at times a bit terrifying. 

There is a line of immense statues, extending from the 
Palazzo Vecchio around the Uffizi on the side toward the river 
and back toward the Loggia de Lanzi. They are not all beau- 
tiful, but they are intensely interesting from a historic stand- 
point. They represent the great men of Florence, great sol- 
diers, jurists, poets, painters, and philosophers. Dante is there 
and Michelangelo and Galileo and many others. 

The Unizi is, of course, one of the world's greatest art 
museums. The building itself was designed by Vasari for 
Cosimo First, who, having taken the Palazzo Vecchio for his 
own home, wished a new building for the seat of government. 
It was begun in 1560. Later, Cosimo moved to the Pitti Palace 
which he bought and finished. After Francis, son of Cosimo, 
was married and went to live in the Palazzo Vecchio, Cosimo 
gave to Vasari the task of building the long passage which 
connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Pitti Palace, crossing 
the river close to the Ponte Vecchio. We walked through this 
passage. It seemed to me that it must be more than half a 
mile long, although I could learn nothing definite. It served 
not only as a private means of communication for the two fami- 
lies, but also as a military safeguard, since soldiers could be 
secretly mobilized and sent from one palace to the other in 
times of danger. Walking through it gave to me a strange 
sense of medieval mystery. 

The top floor of the Uffizi was once a terraced walk with 
workrooms for Cosimo's vast retinue of artists and craftsmen 
below, and on the first floor the public offices. When, in 1574, 
Francis succeeded his father Cosimo, he conceived the idea of 
making the Uffizi into an art gallery. He walled in and roofed 
over the terraced walk, and he and his immediate successors 
began to collect the treasures for which the Uffizi is now 
world-famed. 

I shall make no effort to describe in detail the Uffizi, al- 
though, thanks to Miss Fawcett, I have a far better conception 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 101 

of it than of the Louvre. It presents the evolution of the art 
of the brush, from Cimabue and Giotto, to its culmination in 
the great artists of the Renaissance. 

The Botticelli rooms fascinated me. As my guide described 
them to me, the works of this artist seem to have a deep phi- 
losophic significance possessed by those of no other painter. 
Botticelli was a friend of the Medici, and lived in their home 
in the days when Piero de'Medici ruled. (Piero was the father 
of Lorenzo the Magnificent.) 

In his picture, "The Adoration of the Magi," not only 
Piero himself but also his two sons, Lorenzo and Giuliano, 
appear. His Madonna is sometimes their mother Lucrezia 
Tornabuoni. The "Venus rising from the Sea," was lovely and 
much more joyous than most of the pictures by this very serious 
master. I understood it much better when my guide explained 
that it was painted to celebrate a tournament which Lorenzo 
gave in honor of his younger brother Giuliano, only a few 
months before his untimely assassination in the Duomo. The 
"Queen of beauty" on this occasion was the lovely Simonetta 
Cattaneo, of whose beauty and goodness much has been writ- 
ten. She is the Venus in Botticelli's painting. She is blown 
to earth across the sea to be welcomed by the hours clad in 
flower-decked dresses which are indescribably lovely. 

Botticelli, like Michelangelo, was a devoted follower of 
Savonarola. His picture, "The Calumny," is his strong and 
silent defense of that great leader. Strange it seems that, al- 
though Savonarola decried beauty as one of the phases of the 
luxury which he so bitterly condemned, yet almost all the 
artists of his time were his ardent disciples. 

One wonderful, golden day, Miss Fawcett and I went to 
lovely Fiesole, whose blue hills ever beckon one across the 
Arno. Fiesole sits on her serene hillthrone, like a sun-crowned 
queen. Her women weave lovely things from straw. Her 
children, I regret to say, stand at every corner and besiege you 
to buy withered flowers, or, failing that, beg outright. 

We stopped first at the church which enshrines the work 



102 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

of the sculptor who is Fiesole's pride, Mino da Fiesole. In the 
church is a lovely group by this artist, a merry Christ with some 
gay and altogether human children. 

Leaving the church, we climbed the steep hill to a pleasant 
little pavilion, where we took tea. By the way, I am sure 
that there are just two things about this narrative which you 
will never forget, namely, "it rained," and — "we took tea." 
The former did not, however, figure in our day at Fiesole, I 
am happy to say. We went to Fiesole by tram, a rather weary- 
ing procedure. But we returned to Florence, through Settig- 
nano, overlooking the lovely valley of the Mugnone. We took 
this ride in a dear little carrozza, driven by a charming young 
Italian boy. We chose this particular carrozza out of the 
many which clamored for our patronage because of the plump 
little horse which was attached to it. When we complimented 
the boy on his animal, he said eagerly, "Egli mangia molto, 
mangia molto." By which he wished us to understand that 
he gave his pony plenty to eat, a thing which, I regret to say, 
is not always true in Italy. 

Never shall I forget that hour. We rode through fields 
red and white with poppies, blue with iris, the Mugnone wind- 
ing like a silver ribbon below. Behind us, the sun rode in 
his chariot of gold, down a sapphire pathway, while before 
us, far, far up in the blue, a frail moon floated in her silver 
boat, awaiting her regnant hour. Looking back upon that 
scene, it has the unreality of an exquisite but fleeting dream. 
Ah! shall I ever live it again? 

In spite of my lack-luster interest in sculpture, my guide 
insisted on taking me, one morning, to the Bargello, a museum 
devoted entirely to the plastic art. In Florence, where the 
spirit of the Renaissance is so vividly present, it seems diffi- 
cult to turn one's thoughts backward to the Greek art. But the 
sculpture of the Bargello is different. Here, Michelangelo 
wrought and you saw him in new and most appealing guise. 
The history of the Bargello itself is interesting. It was built 
in the thirteenth century as a palace for the chief magistrate 
of the city, and remained so until 1574, when it descended 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 103 

in the social scale to become a prison and headquarters for 
the police. Hence, its name, Bargello, chief of police. It is 
located in the narrowest of narrow streets. In the chapel are 
some Giotto frescoes which have marvelously withstood all the 
vicissitudes of the centuries. Lucas tells us that it was covered 
with whitewash for two centuries. The entrance hall has a 
marvelous collection of de'Medici weapons and armor, but 
these never appeal to me. From this hall, one reaches the far- 
famed court and staircase and across the court, into the almost 
sacred beauty of the Michelangelo room. Here is his Little 
David, his Bacchus, and a lovely tondo of the Madonna. 

I loved this bas relief with its exquisite tenderness, so un- 
like the stern and somber mood which characterizes the work 
of this strong and sorrowful spirit. The child is older than 
is usual. He has grown weary of a reading lesson and throws 
his arm across the book in a gesture utterly human and there- 
fore wholly appealing. 

The Little David is, of course, an utterly different concep- 
tion from that of his great statue. David stood to the Floren- 
tines as the champion of liberty, and was a favorite subject 
with their artists. The little Verocchio David in the Bargello 
reminded me somehow of Peter Pan, it was so vital, so child- 
like, yet so subtly suggestive of mystery. 

From the Michelangelo room, one climbs the stairs to 
the room devoted to Donatello. He was the first really great 
sculptor since the days of Grecian art. He, too, has a remark- 
able David. It was the first statue of modern times to stand 
alone on a pedestal. Donatello seems to have been of a genial 
nature. He cared nothing for money, but kept it in a basket 
suspended from the ceiling. All his friends, and even his 
workmen, were free to take what they wished. Don't you wish 
you had a friend like that? It was fortunate for Donatello 
that the rich Medici were his patrons and friends. 

The thing which constantly astonishes one is the amazing 
versatility of these Renaissance artists. Donatello was a 
painter, a sculptor, and an architect. Verrocchio was a painter, 
a sculptor, a goldsmith, and with all, an excellent musician. 



104 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Michelangelo was perhaps equally great, both as a painter and 
a sculptor. Leonardo da Vinci, besides being a world-famed 
painter and sculptor, was a scientist constantly experimenting 
with colors. He was also an engineer and constructed the great 
canal which goes through Milan. Such genius rather takes the 
edge off our modern self-esteem. 

The most beautiful of all the Delia Robbias are in the 
Bargello. It is true that in the Spedale degli Innocenti, chil- 
dren's hospital, is found much of their work, but the Delia 
Robbia room in the Bargello is the very crown of the art of 
that most marvelous family, whose lovely Madonnas and 
charming children are seen all over Florence and are too well- 
known to need any word of mine. My guide told me that 
the way to distinguish the work of Andrea from that of his 
uncle Luca is that Andrea always places the child on the 
right arm of the Madonna, Luca, on the left. The art of the 
Delia Robbias is essentially Catholic, essentially churchly, and 
belongs peculiarly to the humble poor. 

In one gallery of the Bargello is a collection of medieval 
bells which I loved. It would seem that my forebears must 
have been Indians. Clocks that strike, bells that jingle are my 
especial joy. 

No church in all Florence seemed to me so tenderly lovely 
as did San Croce. Perhaps it is because, unlike all the others, 
it has abundant light and blends its beauty of art with the 
equal loveliness of the Italian sky. Or perhaps it is because 
in its piazza, groups of children are always at play. Michel- 
angelo lies here, and I could fancy his somber face lighting 
at the sound of their merry laughter. 

In the cloisters of San Croce, which are entered from the 
Piazza, there is a lovely memorial to Florence Nightingale, 
painted by Sargent. I had never before known that she was 
born in Florence, and that it was from this fact that she took 
her name. 

The Accademia is utterly dominated by the gigantic figure 
of Michelangelo's David. In fact, this colossal statue seems 
to brood above the entire city and to be everywhere present. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 105 

It is seen three times; in bronze, in the Piazale Michelangelo; 
in a marble reproduction, outside the Palazzo Vecchio; and 
in the original, in the Accademia. It was wrought from a 
huge block of marble, which the city authorities gave to the 
artist in 1501, on condition that he carve from it within two 
years a David. He was then twenty-six years old. The statue 
was begun in September, 1501, and finished January, 1504. 
For three hundred and sixty-nine years it stood where Michel- 
angelo wished it to stand, namely, outside the Palazzo Vec- 
chio. In 1873, it was removed to the Accademia for shelter 
from the weather, its place being taken by the marble repro- 
duction. I could not touch this great statue because it was much 
too high, but its spell seemed to follow me wherever I went 
in Florence. 

The tenderest spot in all Florence is that which enshrines 
the benign and saintly spirit of Fra Angelico, the Museo di 
San Marco. It was the convent in which Fra Angelico lived 
and worked. His was a nature all gentleness and sunshine. 
His work is wholly free from that element of tragedy which 
so often characterizes the work of Michelangelo and Leonardo 
da Vinci. I adored his "Flight into Egypt." The Joseph is 
young and vital. The Mother and Babe are adorable, and 
even the donkey seems to be enjoying the adventure. The 
sun which, on that May morning, shed its glory over dear San 
Marco seemed to be but the reflection of that radiant spirit 
which has left its glorified vision as a heritage to all time. 
Even Savonarola's tragedy cannot wholly shadow San Marco. 
Savonarola entered San Marco as Prior in 1482. His cell is 
shown and in it the robe which he wore as Prior. Fra Angel- 
ico's cell is number thirty-three. There is in San Marco a Last 
Supper, by Dominico Ghirlandaio, which is fascinating. The 
table is set with lovely fruits and dishes. Close to Judas 
sits a cat, and there is a gorgeous peacock hovering in the 
background. All together, San Marco is an enchanting 
memory. 

One afternoon we went to Certosa, a monastery of the 
Carthusian monks, located about five miles from Florence. 



106 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Its chief distinction seems to be that it is the place where 
the famous "Val d'Ema" liquore is manufactured. Whatever 
may be its history, today, it is merely a show place, with the 
sale of the liquore as its objective. It did not appeal to me. 
The Certos, near Pavia, is much more beautiful, but seems 
to be devoted to the same purpose. 

Much more vivid is my memory of the afternoon spent 
at San Miniato, which stands on a hill outside Florence. Here 
Michelangelo built some wonderful fortifications. I am sure 
that the church is beautiful, but it was being restored, and was 
full of workmen. All the gates to the little chapels were 
locked so that I could touch nothing. However, San Miniato 
is a lovely spot. We walked down the many steps along the 
"Way of the Crosses," so called because all the way down 
on either side are little wooden crosses. 

No visitor to Florence fails to see the Spedale degli Inno- 
centi. In fact, one passes it constantly in going about. The 
first glimpse gives one the pleasant sense of having encoun- 
tered an old friend, for on the fagade is that row of Delia 
Robbia babies, each in its blue circle, copies of which you have 
seen ever since your childhood. These must have been added 
long after the building was finished, since it was begun by 
Brunelleschi under the patronage of Giovanni, the first great 
Medici. In the court, Andrea della Robbia has a most lovely 
"Annunciation." 

They tell me that, as an institution, this is one of the finest 
of children's hospitals. I regret that I had no influence by 
which I could come close to its real life. 

The bridges of Florence do not merely serve the utili- 
tarian purpose of being the means by which one crosses the 
river; they are the highest type of architectural achievement. 
Santa Trinita, with its three arches, is perhaps the loveliest 
bridge in all the world. While the Ponte Vecchio, built by 
Taddeo Gaddi, in the fourteenth century, is wonderful and has 
withstood the storms of centuries. 

I am ashamed to say that the only vivid impression which 
I retain of Santa Maria Novella is that of cool spaciousness 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 107 

and a sort of radiance. From reading I know that there is 
much that is worth while in this church in the way of art, 
the Ghirlandaio frescoes for instance. But somehow, the 
church lives in my memory as a spot where, after a weary 
morning, I found a sense of infinite rest and peace, rather 
than the stimulus for study. In Santa Trinita, one thing 
stands out clearly, namely, Ghirlandaio's lovely fresco, "The 
Adoration of the Shepherds," with its adorable Baby and its 
simple, worshiping shepherds. 

I suppose most tourists spend much time in Via Torna- 
buoni, where are found the loveliest and most expensive shops. 
But, as my purse was daily growing lighter from the drain 
made by the expense of living and paying a guide, I scarcely 
looked at them. The little shops on the Ponte Vecchio are 
less expensive and, to me, equally fascinating. 

The Pitti Palace is, at once, an art gallery and the Florence 
home of the Royal Family. Of course, the permanent resi- 
dence of the Italian King is in Rome, but he has palaces in a 
number of other cities, and the Pitti is one of these. 

The palace may be approached either through the long 
passage which connects it with the Palazzo Vecchio, or from 
the Via Guicciardoni. In neither case does it give the impres- 
sion of royal splendor which one might expect. The Pitti 
Palace is far less adapted for use as an art gallery than is the 
Uffizi. The lighting is very inadequate, moreover, the walls 
are far too crowded. Unfortunately, almost all the Rafaels 
in Florence are in this gallery. Here you find the "Madonna 
del Granduca," and the still more lovely "Madonna della 
Sedia." But of all the vast collection in the Pitti, one picture 
intrigued me above all others. We stood long before it, and 
I begged my guide to take me back to it again and yet again. 
This was "The Concert," by Giorgione. This picture seems 
to me to be music translated into the realm of color, or color 
so vibrant that it becomes music. It stands apart upon an 
easel, and is clearly seen. Its spell is something which I, with 
my limited knowledge, cannot explain, but which I most 
vividly felt. 



108 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

I deeply regret that I did not see "Casa Guida," the house 
where Robert and Elizabeth Browning spent such happy, and, 
for the realm of English literature, such enriching years. 

Even with a guide who worked as incessantly and planned 
as wisely as Miss Fawcett, I could not hope to know Florence 
in two brief weeks. To fathom the significance of her com- 
plex and dramatic history, to absorb the richness and beauty 
of her art, were a task which might well absorb a lifetime 
of study. Yet ever in my heart shall glow the radiance of 
this dream city of Italy. 

Ah, if she brought such glory to one who saw her only 
through the eyes of the spirit, what must she be to those blessed 
with the actual vision? Yet I met those who, having eyes, 
saw her not. To them she stood merely for the tea rooms and 
the shops. 

To you to whom it is given to walk in the light, I would 
send a message from out my world of shadows, a message 
born of its passionate longing and its pitiful denial. Turn 
your eyes from the trivial and the tawdry, to behold the glorious 
creations of man, until, at last, your clarified vision shall read 
in them the very thought of God. 

Almeda C. Adams 



Hotel DTtalia, 
Rome, Italy, 
May 20, 1927 

Dear Ones: 

I am resolved that in Rome I will not make the mistake 
which has, I fear, well-nigh proven fatal to my Florence story; 
the mistake of thinking to write it afterward from notes taken 
in point. Therefore, although I am utterly weary, I am going 
to begin this letter tonight. 

The "Queen of the Tiber" has given me the nearest ap- 
proach to an unhappy experience which has been mine since 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 109 

entering upon what my friends seem to regard as the stupen- 
dous undertaking of journeying alone through Europe. In 
thinking it over, I have decided that neither Rome nor I are 
entirely to blame; though the responsibility for the most un- 
happy element of the experience certainly rests wholly with 
my own stupidity. Perhaps the very kindness which was so 
eager to help is in a measure responsible. 

I left Florence Tuesday morning about 9:30. A very 
lovely English lady who lives at the Pensione Karola where 
I stayed in Florence came to the train with me; and two charm- 
ing young people, friends of my Miss Fawcett, who was my 
so wonderful guide, came to the train, bringing a great bunch 
of red roses. It was quite impossible to feel like a stranger. 

My English friend, who was much disturbed because I 
was coming alone, tried to find some fellow-traveler who spoke 
our language. At the last moment, she discovered a young 
American priest and pressed him into the service, willy-nilly. 
He certainly took his responsibilities seriously. He gathered 
up his baggage from the compartment in which he was com- 
fortably established and brought it into mine; and from that 
moment, devoted himself to making things easy for me. I 
learned that he came from Baltimore, and that he is about 
to complete his four years' course at the "Americano Collegio 
Del Nord." He had been spending four weeks in Fiesole 
recovering from a serious illness. The day was hot, and long 
before the end of our journey, he looked very weary, which 
made his efforts in my behalf doubly kind. We went to lunch 
together and were, I am sure, the observed of all observers. 
Everybody must have wondered where the handsome young 
Padre picked up the plain old maid to whom he was so atten- 
tive. 

I had a list of pensions given me by different people; but 
he knew a number of them and discouraged me about them 
for one reason or another. Some were very expensive, and 
some he knew to be not good. He finally suggested a little 
Convent Pensione kept by some Swiss Sisters. I thought that 
sounded very interesting, and so when we reached Rome, we 



110 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

took a cab and went directly to the Convent, only to find that 
there was at the moment no vacant room. The Sisters 
promised one for Thursday; and the Padre advised going to 
a neighboring hotel until it should be vacant. But I dreaded 
to think of moving after I should once be established. Be- 
sides, hotel bills even for two days mount terribly. So 
I insisted on being taken to a small pensione about which some- 
one in Florence had told me, and which I will call "Rosebud," 
although the only way in which it suggested a rosebud was by 
being so different. When we reached it, the Padre climbed all 
the many stairs to see if there was a place. He came back 
and reported that he thought it was quite all right. Now a 
man, even a Padre, is not always to be trusted to judge whether 
a place is all right to the mind of a lady. My dear old Daddy 
always used to say that there was never any dirt in our house 
until we stirred it all up in an effort to clean. So it is that, 
to my observation, even the best of men are rather dirt-blind. 
The moment I entered the door after a climb which made 
one dread ever to go out because one must needs achieve it 
in order to return, I felt instinctively that it was not for me. 
But my young Padre was so tired; he seemed so determined 
not to leave me till I should be settled, that I did not have 
the heart to voice my doubts. So I let him go to his college, 
as I knew he longed to do, and I stayed. 

When, however, I began disposing my things, I knew my 
hunch was, as usual, working straight. I called the maid and 
asked her to call a cab for me, simply saying that I did not 
care to remain. Instead she called in a young snip of a boy, 
evidently a porter about the place, who demanded the reason. 
The mistress, by the way, was not at home. I tried not to 
give a reason. We had some words in Italian, violent on 
his part; struggling and difficult on mine. At last he told 
me that as a Padre had brought me I must stay till the Padre 
took me away. This was too much for my American inde- 
pendence. I assure you the "Spirit of '76" was aroused. I 
told him that if he would not get me a cab, I would go alone. 
Whereupon, to prove my threat, I picked up my suitcase which 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 111 

weighed all of a ton and started in the direction where I 
thought the door might possibly me. Oh, but it was, as my 
Jewish friends would say, "to laugh." The boy at last realized 
that he had gone a shade too far, and came downstairs with 
me, demanding twenty-five lire for his trouble. The tragedy 
of the final act did not occur to me until hours afterward 
when, at the hotel where the Padre had first wished to take 
me, I searched for the envelope containing all my Florence 
notes, and realized that I had left it behind, incidentally dis- 
covering that in addition to the fifteen lire I had given the 
boy, I had been short-changed ten. But — I had escaped the 
"Rosebud," and that was something. However, my Florence 
notes represented hours of labor and, shall I confess it ? Over 
them I shed some real tears. 

I remained at the Hotel Bristol until Thursday, and then 
went to the Convent. But that too I found impracticable. It 
is built around a court, and is very old and so large that from 
the dining room to my room was a "Sabbath" day's journey. 
Moreover, these old houses are labyrinths whose winding ways 
were never meant for such as I. The Mother Superior, a lovely, 
gracious woman, saw the difficulties, and advised me to find 
something else. There seem to be just two classes of pensions 
in Rome, good and bad. The good ones come higher than any- 
where else in Italy. At the present moment, they seem to 
be all full. At last I shut my eyes to cost and came here. 
This is a lovely little hotel. For the first time, the food is 
.something to look forward to instead of something to take as 
a necessary evil; and every one is so lovely to me. Enough 
for petty detail. 

My guide, a young Swiss girl whom I secured through 
the American consul, speaks almost no English; so my Italian 
is going to be put to the test; but I find that it improves with 
age. 

On Thursday afternoon, after finally settling my living 
quarters, having moved four times in two days, we began the 
serious business of seeing, and in some small measure, learn- 
ing, Rome. We went that afternoon to "San Pietro" (St. 



112 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Peter's) , that vastest and most historic of all temples of Chris- 
tian worship. Its very approach, through St. Peter's square, 
with its four lines of immense columns, is almost appalling 
in its magnificence. These columns are of beautiful marble. 
They look as if nothing could ever move them or disturb the 
silent vigil which they keep. Entering the church, the first 
impression is one of almost terrifying immensity. This impres- 
sion is, however, modified as one begins to study the beauty 
of detail. The baptismal font is the cover of an old sarcoph- 
agus which tradition claims was brought from the mausoleum 
of Hadrian, now in the famous castle of San Angelo. I 
stood before the tomb of Gregory the Thirteenth, on which, 
among other things, is engraved the calendar he reformed in 
1582. There are many imposing statues of the popes who have 
in turn ruled over Catholic Christendom. All this is historic, 
dignified, somber. But the little chapel of Michelangelo 
with its marvelous, tender Pieta, in which the face of the Vir- 
gin has a sadness and appeal beyond words, is a human touch 
which reminds us that, after all, St. Peter's is a church where 
men have worshiped and human souls have brought their joys 
and woes and laid them at the divine feet of a suffering and 
compassionate Christ. 

I touched the temporary covering that conceals the Holy 
Doors, which His Holiness alone has the right to open and 
close. They are opened once in twenty-five years, and left 
open for one year. I could but be glad that the doors of the 
Celestial City stand ever wide for those who seek its glory 
and its rest. 

This morning we saw something which spoke of a far 
different phase of Roman life, namely, the Colosseum in which 
took place those ghastly conflicts between the gladiators and 
the wild beasts, with which the Caesars and Heathen Rome 
were wont to amuse themselves. The Colosseum, like the out- 
worn civilization which it represents, is now a mass of ruins. 
It is five hundred and twenty-seven meters in circumference, 
and one hundred and eighty-eight in diameter, if these figures 
mean anything to you. They did not to me until I walked 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 113 

around it. We were looking over into the pit where the wild 
animals were kept until they should be brought into the arena. 
My little guide had been explaining, and thinking, doubtless, 
from my unenlightened expression, that her Italian had missed 
the mark, she began to growl like a fierce lion. I admired 
her ingenuity. Here Rome shouted and laughed to see Chris- 
tian blood drench the sands. Yet the same Rome built St. 
Peter's and worshiped there the Christian's Christ. 

From the Colosseum we went to see the great arch of 
the Emperor Constantine. It is an arch with three passages 
and very beautiful. We stopped for a moment in the church 
of San Pietro Invincoli to see Michelangelo's great statue 
of Moses. It is a large and impressive figure. The left hand 
holds the tablets of stone, and the striking feature of the face 
is the very heavy beard which gives to it a certain massive 
strength. One naturally compares this figure with the Floren- 
tine David by the same sculptor. To me, the latter was more 
impressive. It is said that San Pietro Invincoli was built for 
the sole purpose of keeping the iron chains which St. Peter 
wore when imprisoned in Rome; and the chains are supposed 
to be still there. 

We went by appointment to the Americano Collegio del 
Nord to meet Monsignor Breslin, the president of the college. 
This was made possible for me by a letter of introduction se- 
cured by one of my dear girls in America. On the way to the 
college, we passed the beautiful Fontana Trevi. I have never 
seen so lovely a fountain. It is the work of Niccolo Salvi, 
and the statue of Neptune over which the water flows is ex- 
quisite. There is a popular tradition that if a visitor throws 
a piece of money into the fountain, he or she will return to 
Rome. I suppose it is only another of the thousand devices 
to get American coin; but of course, I fell for it like all the 
rest. It remains to be seen whether the spell of the fountain 
works in my case. If it does, I am sure it must be infallible. 

In the afternoon, we went with an American Express party 
to the Catacombs, that vast underground cemetery where 
ancient Rome buried its dead and where the early Christians 



114 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

found refuge. Besides my guide and myself, there were in our 
car a gentleman and his wife from Kansas City. By the way. 
I think Kansas City must have come to Europe this summer; 
I have met more people from that wide-awake town than from 
any other. These were nice friendly folk whom I enjoyed. 
The only other person was a man whom I called "The Silent 
Partner" because from the beginning of the trip to the end, 
he never spoke and never smiled. I really think he may have 
been deaf; but we had not the courage to put it to the test. 

We rode along the Appian Way, that most famous of 
the "all roads" which lead to Rome. We stopped at the little 
chapel of Quo Vadis which has not a thing to recommend it 
except its name, made famous by the book. 

When we reached the Catacombs, one or two of the 
ladies of our party lost courage when it came to the point 
of taking your little candle in hand and descending into the 
earth. As darkness has no terrors for me, it required no cour- 
age on my part. One descends by passages winding and ex- 
tremely narrow, and lined on either side by tombs, tombs, 
tombs, everywhere. The darkness is so dense as to be almost 
a tangible thing, and the tiny candles make but slight impres- 
sion upon this inky blackness. 

There is a chapel to my beloved Saint Cecilia, who was 
martyred for her faith in her own house in Trastevere and 
whose body was afterward brought to the Catacombs for burial. 
But later her remains were carried back to her own house again. 
The Catacombs are vast and of course we saw but a very small 
part; but it was sufficient to make one realize what the early 
Christians must have suffered, living for months in this dark 
and tragic refuge. 

Never was my much beloved afternoon tea more welcome 
than after this experience. But we were obliged to wait for 
it until we returned to the city. 

At noon on Saturday we met, by appointment, that polished 
and kindly gentleman, Monsignor Breslin, of the Americano 
Collegio del Nord. He took us in his own car, a very lovely 
one, by the way, of Italian make, to the Vatican. We rode 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 115 

round behind San Pietro and entered the Vatican from the 
side. 

For an interview with His Holiness, it is necessary to dress 
entirely in black, and to wear a veil on the head instead of a 
hat. The fact that Monsignor Breslin was with us gave us 
immediate preference over those who merely came with letters 
secured through the Consul or the American Express. Person- 
ally, I never would have gone in that way. Somehow, for 
those not Catholic of faith to seek to see the Pope merely 
as a matter of curiosity, and without the slightest personal 
element, seems to me like going uninvited into a private home. 
Many tourists do it, and letters can be thus secured. 

When His Holiness enters the room, every one kneels 
and as he reaches you, you kiss his ring, as the insignia of 
his office. Monsignor Breslin brought him to me first and told 
him that I am without sight and am traveling in Europe alone. 
"Alone?" said the Pope. "This is marvelous." After he had 
given his general benediction to the others, he turned to me, 
and raising his hands above my head in benediction, said, "And 
for the sightless one, I pray that God may enlighten her eyes 
and her heart." Thus did Pope Pius XI give his very special 
benediction to an humble and unworthy stranger. It was an 
experience never to be forgotten. He is a courteous, high- 
bred Italian gentleman. He impressed me as being intensely 
human. Something, perhaps the heavy responsibilities of his 
office, perhaps his contacts with life, has given to his voice 
a note of sadness. I wondered if it were also reflected in 
his face. 

In the afternoon, we saw first the church of Santa Maria 
Maggiore. The Pope who restored this church decorated it 
with much gold which he received from Philip the Fourth of 
Spain, who had brought it from America for this purpose. It 
would seem that this must have been when we had much more 
of the precious metal than we now possess. Everywhere, on 
ceiling and on walls, are elaborate reliefs in gold. The wealth 
which it represents is to me inconceivable. One might think 
that all this gold would make the church gaudy. But it is so 



116 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

softened by age and by the dim light that this is not its im- 
pression; although for some reason, it made less appeal to 
me than many churches which I have seen. 

From here we went to what, to me, is one of the most 
marvelous of all temples, namely, the church of St. Paul. This 
church is outside the city on the spot where St. Paul was buried. 
We took a tram, and it is a long ride. It is utterly unlike, 
both in design and decoration, any other temple which I have 
seen. The entrance is a fagade of most beautiful columns. 
However, it in no way resembles the approach to San Pietro. 
The latter is a columned square or piazza outside the church. 
But the fagade of St. Paul's is really a part of the church 
proper, and although it is without roof, the blue Italian sky 
seems its logical ceiling. 

The guide book tells us that the basilica proper is one 
hundred and twenty-five meters long, sixty-five meters wide, 
and thirty-four high, and that it has eighty columns. I am not 
writing a guide Book and I seldom inflict upon you figures, 
because I think that if one has not seen a thing, they mean 
very little; but these are so vast that at least they may give 
you a bit of a thrill. The columns divide the church into five 
aisles, a wide one in the center and two narrower (but surely 
not narrow), on each side. 

Everywhere are the most marvelous mosaics which one can 
conceive. These mosaics, like those of San Pietro, are so 
wonderful that at first it is impossible to believe that they are 
not paintings done in oil. 

Below the high windows are portraits in the round of all 
the popes from the very beginning of the Roman church. They 
represent only the heads and are in mosaic made of the tiniest 
pieces of stone. Between the windows, done also in mosaic, 
are scenes representing the entire life of St. Paul from the 
beginning of his career as a Christian, to his martyrdom, which 
last shows the mob crying for his destruction. I had never 
dreamed that mosaics could be so vivid or so marvelous. 

I did not really see those in San Pietro. That was the 
first place to which I went with my little guide, and neither 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 117 

of us had learned as yet how to interpret the other. I was 
not accustomed to her Italian, and she was not sufficiently 
familiar with me to know how to make things clear to me. 
She is rapidly learning, and we shall go to San Pietro again 
under more favorable conditions. 

Beyond the basilica are the marvelous cloisters with columns 
adorned with mosaics of every conceivable form; tiny stars 
and squares and diamonds in gold and red and black. These 
columns entirely surround the court; and a close observation 
shows that on no two of them are the figures of the mosaic 
exactly alike. Beyond this court, the paving of which is 
beautiful marble, is a tiny formal garden. Just now, every- 
where there is a riot of roses. 

After we had gone entirely over the church and started 
for the tram, I asked my little guide if she would return with 
me and walk through it again from fagade to garden. She 
is so eager to help that, although I know she was very tired, 
she willingly did this. As we entered the church, I heard the 
tones of the lovely organ. A service had begun. It proved 
to be the bishop with his confirmation class. We listened 
while the class gave their responses to the bishop's questions. 
This made the meaning and purpose of the church seem very 
real. 

All in all, St. Paul's has made upon me the most vivid 
impression of all the many churches which I have yet seen, 
although I must see St. Peter's again to be sure that this is 
really true. The statues and pictures, all through the church, 
tell the complete story of the life of its saint. The one at 
the end, in which heaven opens and Christ receives His 
martyred servant, is almost startling in its realism. Perhaps it 
is because my dear old Daddy loved Paul above all the others 
that this church has appealed to me so much. 

This is the Sabbath. I would have liked to go somewhere 
to church, but my little guide is ill. I am afraid I have worked 
her too hard. I seem to tire them all out, a thing of which 
I am both proud and ashamed. 

Thus endeth the first chapter of the "Book of Rome." 



118 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Of all people in the world, I believe that I am most for- 
tunate. Instead of having a lonely or stupid day because my 
guide is ill, I have had a most delightful one. A young lady 
who lives in the hotel chanced to hear me say that I was alone 
for the day, and kindly offered to act as my guide. She took 
me to see some most interesting churches. 

The first, "Church of the Cappuccini," is the weirdest 
imaginable. The Cappuccini are an order of St. Francis, and 
for years all the monks were buried here in the crypt. When 
the tombs became filled, they took out the skeletons and dis- 
posed them all about the place. They stand in corners dressed 
as in life; they lie upon the tombs like statues. But this is not 
all; the walls and ceilings are literally tapestried with bones. 
The candelabra are of bones. On the breasts of the skeletons 
are crosses of bones. Bones, bones, bones everywhere. They 
have not yet reached the point of carpeting the floor with them, 
but really I should think that would be the next procedure. 
It all sounds ghastly enough to turn your blood cold. But, 
do you know, it struck me simply as humorously whimsical. 
Perhaps my sense of humor works over-time, but it was as if 
all these old dead monks said, "Look at us. Here we are. We 
cannot be driven out of our resting place by all these youngsters 
that are coming along. This is our church, and here we stay." 

From here we went to the beautiful, worshipful, little 
church of San Bernardo. The church is rotund. It has not 
a single work of art by a great master, and yet it is indescrib- 
ably beautiful. There is a picture of Christ being taken from 
the cross by a Dominican monk. The monk has the Body of 
Christ in his arms, and is in the act of lifting it down, and yet, 
somehow, although the Christ is plainly dead, the picture 
gives you the impression that He is, instead, lifting the monk 
up. There is a ray of light which illumines the picture, and it 
is impossible to tell whether it is sunlight or whether it 
emanates from the body of the Christ itself. In a small chapel 
is the carved statue of the Madonna. The hands are folded, 
and in the expression of those hands is infinite sadness, infinite 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 119 

resignation. Everywhere in the church were flowers and the 
little silver hearts that the people bring to the Madonna and 
the saints, when they are in great trouble or wish to express 
gratitude for some special gift. It seems to be the heart home 
of humble people who bring to it their joys and most espe- 
cially their sorrows. 

From here we went to Santa Maria della Vittoria, an 
utterly different type of church. Here all the frescoes are 
gay and most unchurchly, and here is the famous Bernini 
statue of Santa Teresa, which looks like anything on earth but 
a saint. She is a charming figure in the most beautiful draper- 
ies. Bernini always clothes his ladies exquisitely. Below this 
elegant young person is the most adorable cupid, with arrow 
upheld, ready to pierce the maiden's heart. He is also properly 
clothed. But the fascinating thing is the look on Teresa's 
face. She has utterly fallen under Cupid's spell, and she is 
as far from a saint as any modern American girl. How she 
ever came to be in a church is hard to say. The whole im- 
pression of this church is happy, and I must admit 2 a bit 
worldly like Santa Teresa herself. 

I learned this afternoon that right next our hotel is the 
beautiful palace of the Barberini with its wonderful fountain. 
Old palaces and new and modern buildings hobnob here in 
most friendly fashion. Ah, but it is fascinating! And who 
am I that I should have all this joy? 

Monday morning we went to the Roman Forum. Where 
once stood stately marble structures as beautiful, doubtless, as 
any the world has ever known, there remains but a mass of 
ruins. Yet it is possible amid these ruins to locate every 
building. One may stand on the spot which was once the very 
heart of Rome and construct anew the palaces of the Caesars 
rising above the Forum on the Palatine Hill, the hall where 
the Roman senate made laws which have become a model for 
the world, the ancient temples where Rome worshiped its mul- 
titudinous gods and goddesses, the bank where her wealth 
was kept, and in which men met of a morning to talk of every- 



120 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

thing from Grecian philosophy to the latest gossip, lingering 
here until noon, when they exchanged the Forum for the 
Baths. 

One may actually trace the walls and rooms of many 
of these buildings. One stands beside the great stone which 
marks the spot where Mark Antony stood when he uttered 
that famous speech whose import Shakespeare interprets for 
us in those matchless and pathetically true words, "The evil 
which men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with 
their bones." Among the buildings whose outlines are best 
preserved is the temple of the Vesta, where dwelt those high- 
born maidens who, from the age of six years, were consecrated 
to the service of their goddess and of Rome, and whose wise 
counsel was sought by the Caesars in every crisis of the city's 
history. It would seem that each Vestal had a suite consist- 
ing of a tiny sitting room, a bedroom, and bath. 

Everywhere in the crevices of the stones, in the grass be- 
neath our feet, peeped forth tiny blossoms. Many of the walls 
were covered with climbing wild rose, which, at this moment, 
is a riot of bloom, transforming the dull stones into a mass 
of color, even as our imagination clothes with glory and 
romance the past which they represent. 

One thing which fascinated me- was the gigantic arch of 
Septimus Severus. Old Septimus was a very bad sort who 
was killed for his evil deeds, but he certainly left a most mag- 
nificent monument. In the curving roof of the arch are carved 
the most marvelous flowers. These are the creation of the 
artist's imagination and do not exactly resemble any flower 
which we know. The wonderful thing about them is that 
they have expression almost like human faces. They are all 
the same form, and yet if one looks closely, no two create the 
same impression. One seems to be looking up, another turns 
her face away; a third is dying, and so on. The impression 
is as if each one had an individuality of its own. I realize 
that I have utterly failed to make this clear. It is something 
so intangible as to defy verbal description, yet seen, it is very 
real. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 121 

The Forum and the Colosseum adjoin and are perhaps more 
than a mile from the heart of the city. As you stand amid 
the ruins, a mystic silence enfolds you. The modern city with 
its rush and clamor fades from your consciousness; unseen 
spirits from out the far past come trooping forth, and cast 
their spell upon you, creating for you anew the ancient city 
of your dreams. A bird trills from the tree top, and you fancy 
that it is the voice of a Vestal Virgin uttering some word of 
wisdom. A sunbeam falls athwart the green, and lo, it is 
the mother of the Gracchi smiling at her children. Brutus, 
Anthony, Caesar, they all give you friendly greeting. They 
have ceased to be to you mere names and become forevermore 
a part of your world. 

Alas, even in Rome, the things of every-day life intrude 
themselves upon your consciousness. My purse, which I 
bought in Vienna, and which was supposed to last the rest of 
my earthly existence, has gone hopelessly to the bow-wows. 
I was, therefore, faced with the necessity of buying an- 
other. Now I simply cannot shop in Rome. Oh, yes, there is 
plenty to buy, far too much, for a limited purse like mine. 
But I cannot adjust myself to the Italian method of selling. 
The price which they first give you for anything is anywhere 
from ten to twenty-five per cent more than it is worth, or than 
they themselves have the least expectation of receiving. You 
simply are compelled to bargain until, little by little, they 
bring it down to something like a reasonable figure. Under- 
stand, I am not talking about the ghetto, but about the very 
finest shops in the city. They expect you to demur at the 
first price. They would have a contempt for you as being 
hopelessly stupid if you did not. But they have no intention 
of descending suddenly from the lofty altitude which they 
assume. They do it by slow and gracious degrees. The 
trouble in my case is that I simply cannot provide the proper 
impetus for the descent. However, I finally bought a purse 
at something faintly approaching a reasonable price, although, 
with the exchange at eighteen to the dollar and prices exactly 
the same as they were when the exchange was twenty-five, 



122 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

nothing in Italy is reasonable. However, I do not doubt but 
that Mussolini is doing his best to adjust a difficult situation. 

On Tuesday morning, we went to Villa Borghese. This 
palazzo was formerly and for many years the home of the 
famous Borghese family. 

As a museum, its charm lies chiefly in a marvelous collec- 
tion of statues. One of the most beautiful of these is the 
statue by Canova, of Paula, sister of Napoleon Bonaparte. 
She was married to Prince Borghese, which accounts for the 
fact that the statue is in this palace. The figure is beautiful, 
and in her lovely hand she holds an apple, which gives a de- 
lightful touch of realism. It was this statue that brought about 
the return of the four bronze horses to Venice. Bernini's Apollo 
and Daphne is without exception the most exquisite bit of 
sculpture which I have ever seen. The figure of Apollo is 
perfect in its strength and beauty and Daphne is grace itself. 
The David by the same sculptor is also beautiful, but does 
not appeal to me as did the little Verocchio David in Florence. 
There is a sort of relief or frieze, twelve stories of Hercules, 
which I loved, although I am not sure that it is considered 
great. The figures are very small but vivid in relief, and each 
little story is divided from the next by tiny columns. I think 
I loved it because the little Hercules and the animals which he 
killed were all so tiny and so perfect. 

Titian's painting, "Amore Profano, Amore Sacro," was 
marvelous for the different types which the two women pre- 
sented: the one, wholly earthly in her beauty; the other, so 
refined and spiritual. Of course, they both had the marvelous 
Titian hair. "II Bambino col Serpente," a presentation of the 
Christ child with His foot on the serpent, by Spagnoletto, 
fascinated me with its sense of fulfilled prophecy. 

In the Palazzo Corsini, which we also visited yesterday, 
there was one picture which amused me much, although I 
am sure I was intended to take it very seriously. It is called 
"Venus and Adonis," and is by no less a master than Titian. 
Adonis, with his three dogs, was all ready for the hunt, and 
eager to be off, but Venus wished him to stay with her. She 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 123 

employed all her charms, and even threw her arms around 
him. Why will these Greek goddesses be so foolish just 
because a young god happens to be handsomer than he has any 
right to be? They should learn manners from the modern 
American girl. 

There are in this palace, hanging almost side by side, two 
pictures on the same subject, the utter unlikeness of which is 
startling. The subject of each is the thorn-crowned head of 
Christ. One is by Guercino, the other by Guido Reni. In 
the first, the most striking impression is that given by the 
realism of the drops of blood. The whole appeal is that of 
physical suffering. In the other, there are the same thorns, 
there is the same evidence of physical pain, but you scarcely 
think of it. In the eyes there is a depth of spiritual intensity, 
of heart sorrow, which makes of the thorns a mere incident. 

Yesterday afternoon I saw one of the most wonderful 
things in all Rome, or for the matter of that, in the world. It 
is the church, I might better say, churches, of San Clemente. 
In this historic structure there are in reality three buildings, one 
below the other. The church as you enter it from the street 
dates from the twelfth century. It contains, among other things 
of deep historic interest, a cosmatesque pavement of the thir- 
teenth century and a small chapel painted by Massaccio and 
Massalino. 

We then descended a flight of steps to find another chapel 
somewhat larger than the first. It dates back to the fourth 
century, and is one of the oldest and most complete now in 
existence. It contains a series of frescoes dating from the sixth 
to the eleventh centuries. These are of great importance as 
showing the development of Christian art. There is in 
existence a letter in which St. Jerome mentions a council of the 
early church which was held in this basilica. There were old 
statues in various degrees of preservation. The choir is miss- 
ing, and our guide explained that it has been taken to the 
church above. It would seem that at the time that the present 
San Clemente was built, the old San Clemente was, owing to 
the change of the city level, below the street, and they used it 



124 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

as a foundation for the new church. In the course of centuries 
the very existence of the old chapel was forgotten. Later, when 
the new church was being restored, they rediscovered the old 
one. I thought all this marvelous, but when our guide said, 
"Now we will see the first chapel," and began leading us down 
another flight of steps, my surprise was turned to amazement. 
Here we found a chapel somewhat smaller than either of the 
others, and divided into two rooms. It is amazingly preserved. 
The Padre who acted as our guide explained that this was the 
little house in which Clemente had lived and which had also 
been used by the early Christians as a meeting place. Clemente 
is supposed to have been a convert of St. Peter and was the 
head of the little Roman church after the death of the apostle. 
One of the rooms has a beautiful stuccoed ceiling of the first 
century. In one room we saw, to our amazement, statues and 
reliefs of heathen gods. When I asked our guide to explain 
this incongruity, he said that during the second century this 
chapel had been used as a temple to Mithra, the Sun God. 
This oriental cult attained wide influence in Rome during the 
second century, and for a time menaced Christianity. Mithra 
corresponds to the Greek Apollo. The statue of the god which 
is in this chapel has one peculiarity, namely, that there are in 
the head openings through which passed bronze rays repre- 
senting the rays of the sun. These are now missing. 

The task of restoring this chapel was rendered extremely 
difficult by the fact that water constantly flowed into it. Under 
many of the streets and squares of Rome, there is a constant 
stream of running water. No one knows its source, but dur- 
ing a rainy period the roar of this water can be heard in many 
houses. One of these streams ran under San Clemente, and 
again and again inundated the lowest chapel. At length 
Cardinal O'Connell of Boston interested himself in the restora- 
tion and built an aqueduct to carry off the water. 

To me there is no spot in Rome more interesting than San 
Clemente, with its three churches, one below the other, repre- 
senting, as they do, three distinct periods in the evolution of 
Christianity. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 125 

Thursday morning. 

Perhaps it will seem a wild flight of the imagination, but 
to me the sounds of Rome are unlike those of any other city. 
Underneath all the modern clamor of motor cars and trolleys, 
and the cries of street venders, there seems ever to throb a 
poignant note, the echo of all the past which this "Immortal 
City" has witnessed. This morning the symphony had a deeper 
diapason, the sound of the marching of many feet. We learned 
what it meant when we attempted to go to one of the museums 
and found it closed because this is a "festa" of some sort or 
ether. No one seems to know exactly what it is, but all public 
buildings are closed for the day. 

They tell me these feasts are constantly breaking the 
ordinary routine of life; that they interrupt his daily tasks dis- 
turbs the Italian not at all. He regards work as a necessary 
evil, and its interruption on any pretext whatsoever, as an 
intervention on his behalf of a kind and beneficent Providence. 
The fact that I must lose an entire day because of the Festa, 
the significance of which I do not even understand, does not, 
from my viewpoint, look so providential. However, the 
trouble doubtless is with the viewpoint. I was not very well 
yesterday, and this rest is probably just what I should have. 



Friday, May 27, 1927 

Today my friend took me to the Museo Nazionale. It is 
a museum devoted entirely to sculpture. I have not the same 
feeling about sculpture in Rome which I had in Florence. The 
spirit of Greek art seems to be as vividly alive in Rome as was 
that of the Renaissance in Florence. The collection in the 
Museo Nazionale presents the art of the chisel from its earliest 
and crudest beginnings to its supreme culmination of beauty 
in the zenith of Greek sculpture. 

There are bodies without arms, bodies without heads; 
indeed, the Venus of Cirene, which is given an entire room for 



126 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

its display, has neither arms nor head. Yet so expressive of 
life and beauty is every curve of her exquisite torso that it 
scarcely seems to matter. So it is with all these creations of 
genius. Each has a message from which in imagination you 
can construct romance and passion and vivid life. There was 
an exquisite little satyr, just poised for flight, his head slightly 
turned, the warm curve of his neck tempting a kiss. Yet you 
were sure that if you attempted any such liberty, he would run 
away into the forest, leaving you shamed and discomfited. 
There was a lovely bust called "Fanciula Romana," Roman 
child, with her patrician birth as plainly evident in this marble 
semblance as it had ever been in life. My friend told me that 
she dates back to the third century and was found with some 
ruins on the Palatine. The Dying Persian is there. It is only 
a head, the strong face and pleading eyes expressing to my 
touch far less of the agony of death than of the utter weariness 
of life. There were lovely Apollos and Daphnes and Dianas, 
and a little Mercury ready to fly on some important mission. 
These statues are so inbreathed with life that the marble 
seems a sentient thing and the legend of Pygmalion and 
Galatea easily credible. After the Museo Nazionale with a 
guide like this wonderful friend, even I am beginning dimly to 
understand the meanings of the sculptor's art. 



Sunday afternoon 

This morning my guide took me to the Pantheon. This 
structure was first built by Agrippa. An earthquake destroyed 
it, and it was rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian. It is round in 
form, with an opening in the roof through which the light 
shines down. When the sun is shining, the effect is inde- 
scribable, as if a door into Heaven had suddenly been opened. 
The building is very high, and the light falls upon the marble 
like a mystery. This design in the round with the opening 
in the top is seen everywhere in Rome. It is said to be in 
imitation of the hut of Romulus, which was supposed to be 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 127 

round and to have an opening in the top for the smoke to 
escape. 

In the Pantheon are buried many of the noblest of Rome's 
citizens. Here, alas, were enacted some of those tragedies 
whose shadow rests upon every spot in Rome. Here was im- 
prisoned the hapless Beatrice Cenci, whose beauty was her 
tragedy. If there be potency in martyrs' blood, then surely 
even the sins of the city of the Caesars must find ultimate 
absolution. 

This afternoon, we rode far out into a part of the city which 
I had not seen, hoping to find a little church where, we had 
been told, the ancient Gregorian chants were to be sung in 
their original form. When we reached the spot, however, we 
found that we had been mistaken as to the time of the service. 
So we came back and had tea. It has been a perfect day. 



Monday, May 30, 1927 

Today, we went once more to St. Peter's. I realize with 
utter humiliation how little I grasped it that first time. Its 
vastness overpowers. Its riches of art baffle, its majestic his- 
tory awes and humbles. In St. Peter's, more, perhaps, than in 
any other spot, I felt my handicap a bitter thing. The mosaics 
are all so high that they cannot be touched. Michelangelo's 
wonderful Pieta is not within the reach of my eager hands. 
This vastest of all temples appalled while it fascinated me. 
Tomorrow is my last day, and we shall spend the morning in 
the Vatican. 

Tuesday afternoon 

So much has been written about the treasures of the Vatican 
that I shall make no effort to add my poor little word. One 
little morning could not give even one possessed of sight the 
slightest conception of this vast treasure house ; far less could. I 
with my limitations hope to grasp it. They allowed me to 



128 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

touch all the lovely things: the vases and bowls, and even 
the beautiful china clock which some king, whose name I do 
not recall, gave to Pope Leo X. Indeed, it seems to me that 
all the loveliest things were given to him. He was Giovanni, 
second son of Lorenzo de'Medici, known as "Lorenzo the 
Magnificent," and he seems to have been immensely popular. 
At any rate, all the crowned heads of Europe showered treasures 
upon him. 

Here again, the sculptures intrigued me, especially, per- 
haps, the "animal room." There were adorable dogs and 
pussies and rabbits. There were fawns that surely had just 
come from the very heart of the forest. There were splendid 
great horses which made you long to spring upon their backs 
and fly, fly to the ends of the world. And the marbles, of 
which they were made, were of ever-varying colors and 
textures. 

Of course, the crowning glory of the Vatican is the Sistine 
Chapel, as we call it, though Crawford tells us that it should 
be Sixtine, since it was built for Pope Sixtus IVth. Here 
Michelangelo showered the wealth of his genius to enrich the 
art of all time. 

And now it is over, my beautiful, wonderful two weeks in 
Rome. Oh, City Immortal, shall I ever, ever return to your 
glory and your mystery? Shall I ever really know you? I 
have but knelt and kissed the hem of your stately garment. 
Like thousands of other souls who have come beneath your 
spell, I can but cry, "Ave Roma Immortalis." 



Hotel Duparc, 
Montreux, Switzerland, 
June 6, 1927 

Dear Friends: 

When I went to the American Express to inquire about 
trains for Milan, I found that the best one left Rome at 8: 45 
in the evening, and reached Milan at exactly the same time 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 129 

the next morning, thus making the trip which had taken me 
twice eight hours from Milan to Florence and from Florence 
to Rome in twelve hours. When I told my new friends of this, 
they said, "Well, of course you will take a sleeper?" But I 
replied, "Oh, no, not with sleepers coming at one hundred 
lire. That is quite too luxurious for a humble singing 
teacher." 

Thus it was that on Tuesday evening when the merry 
month of May was bidding good-bye to the world for the year 
1927, I said my farewells to my beloved Rome and to the dear, 
dear friends whom I had learned to love so much. Two of 
them accompanied me to the station, and when the train 
pulled out, I felt that I was leaving two wonderful friends 
and the loveliest and most fascinating city in all the world. 

I must confess, in the interest of truth, that there were 
times during that long night when I felt that my one hundred 
lire had been rather poorly conserved. The compartment was 
full. Everyone else seemed to be perfectly able to sleep, and 
they did so most audibly. Also they seemed to have an inborn 
antipathy to fresh air. However, all things come to an end 
some time, and so did that sleepless night, and as I am now 
utterly rested and still have that one hundred lire, I feel that 
the game was quite worth the candle. In the early morning, 
a nice young Italian in my compartment who chanced to hear 
me express a most earnest wish for a cup of coffee, with that 
tactful kindness which I have met everywhere in Italy, left the 
train at one of the stations without saying a word and brought 
me back the coveted refreshment. When I tried to thank him, 
he said, "Ah, niente, niente." But it was far from "nothing" 
to me at that weary moment. 

When I reached Milan, I found both my child and my 
Maestra Maria awaiting me. My child seemed much more 
delighted to see me than could in any wise have been expected, 
considering how much she had had of me in the last eight 
months. When I told them that I had decided to spend Sun- 
day with them, they seemed as pleased as if I had brought 
them the treasures of the Vatican. When we looked forward 



130 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

on that eager, happy morning to five days together, it seemed 
to stretch before us, a long, lovely vista. Now that it is over, 
it appears in retrospect, a fleeting dream. They have been such 
happy days, these last of my Milan experiences. We have 
taken tea in all the dear places which we have learned to love, 
including, of course, the tea room where lives my little Elena 
whose picture you have seen. We walked the familiar ways 
which have been our favorite haunts for so many weeks. We 
read some delightful stories from magazines which my dear 
friends had sent from America. I heard Esther's lesson with 
Maestro Cadore, her new coach, and was delighted with his 
work. He is a genial, earnest, humorous man, and he knows 
the Italian traditions as do few Maestri, even in Milan. 

On Friday we went to Pavia to see the world-famed church 
and convent of Certosa. This marvelously beautiful structure 
is an enduring monument to the genius and devotion of one 
family, that of the Sacchi, who, through three hundred years, 
labored upon its decoration, handing the work down as a 
heritage from father to son for eight generations. Its mosaics 
and frescoes are among the most beautiful in all Europe, and 
are a marvelous expression of the growth and evolution of 
artistic ideals and conceptions in one family, the essentials of 
whose genius are the same because inherited from the same 
ancestors and fostered under the same environment. I must 
confess that my pleasure in Certosa as well as my conception 
of it was greatly hampered by the fact that we went through 
it with a guide who spoke only Italian and who rushed us 
through as rapidly as possible. The guides are assigned to 
you, and you have no choice in the matter. This one, unlike 
the one we had at the Certosa in Florence, seemed to be pos- 
sessed with but one idea, namely, "to get it over." There- 
fore, I must read about Certosa if I would really comprehend 
it. It belongs, of course, to the same order of monks as the 
one in Florence, although this one is no longer used as a resi- 
dence convent. Incidentally, they make the same kind of 
chocolate and liqueur. 

We also saw on that lovely, sunshine-gilded day, the 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 131 

Duomo at Pavia. Its works of art are not great, but it is very 
beautiful and worshipful. We had with us a delightful little 
American girl who lives at the same pension with Esther, and 
her eighteen-year-old enthusiasm and simplicity added much 
to the joy of the day for me. We came back in time for dinner 
in the evening, sunburned and happy. 

On Sunday, we had planned to go to Como for one more 
look at the lake, but, as usual, it looked like rain, and as we 
had had one rainy Sunday at Como, we did not risk another. 
I could find it in my heart to wish that the weather had done 
as much for us on Sunday as it had done on Friday so that I 
might have seen Como under favorable conditions. 

One morning we went to the church of Santa Maria Delle 
Grazie to see the "Cenacolo" of Leonardo da Vinci. This work 
is admittedly his masterpiece, but the hand of time is making 
pitiful ravages upon its beauty. This seems to be true of 
almost all the works of this great master. I did not understand 
why until my Italian teacher explained to me that da Vinci was 
not only an artist but a scientist as well, and that he experi- 
mented with pigments. 

The results were exquisitely beautiful, but they do not 
withstand the test of time and atmospheric conditions. The 
picture is, even now, one of marvelous magnetism and 
exercises over you a sort of mystic spell. It is not true to the 
time which it portrays. It is a "Last Supper" in a fifteenth 
century setting. The disciples and Christ do not recline, as, 
without doubt, they in reality did, according to the old Roman 
custom. They sit in modern fashion. The room, the table 
covering, the dishes are all fifteenth century in character. But 
the face of Christ is one of great strength and dignity, and 
the face of Judas with its cunning is most revealing of the 
character of the man. 

This morning I said good-bye to my two beloved children, 
Esther and Maria. We all tried hard to be brave, but — I make 
no excuses for the tears. It was very hard for my child. 
America and her beloved friends lure her, and to remain in 
Milan alone when I was leaving for home was a severe test. 



132 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Let no one dream that being a singer means only applause and 
roses and glamour of many lights. It means struggle, and toil, 
and loneliness, and bitter sacrifice. As for my Maria, you, my 
beloved American girlies, must open wide your circle and let 
her in. For this, my Italian child, is as dear to me as you 
and must become one of our love-encircled family. To her as 
to you I am "Ma Jane." She says it as if it were Ma-Yane, 
and it is delicious. 

For the first hour or so I had little heart to heed the things 
and people about me. All my thoughts were with my beloved 
children in Milan, whom I should not see again for so long, 
one of them perhaps never. The compartment was not full, 
and at last I became conscious that some new people had 
entered. This time it proved to be India which gave me greet- 
ing. All the world holds out its hand to you over here. The 
new people were a Mr. and Mrs. Fairley, Scotch by birth, at 
home from India to bring and then leave their six-year-old 
daughter in school in Scotland. They were lovely, cultured 
people, and devoted themselves to seeing that I had luncheon 
and every comfort. Why do strangers always make it their 
responsibility to help and care for me? It is so wonderful, 
and it thrills my heart to see how wide is the circle of human 
love and kindliness. They were so delightful, these lovely 
Scotch friends, that when they left the train at about three, I 
felt doubly lonely. 

The picture about us was utterly unlike that which we left 
in Milan. Great mountains rose on either side, their snow- 
crowned summits seeming to touch the sky, while below smiled 
beautiful valleys, yellow with gorse, red with poppies, and 
green with wheat. And sometimes beside us flowed the Rhone, 
rushing on to empty its treasure into the waiting heart of its 
beloved Lake Leman. Once there was a very heavy snow storm 
on the mountain just above us, and in the valley below the 
sun was shining. Being the "middleman," we got rain. In 
this marvelous country you can have all the weathers that 
nature has to offer at one and the same moment, thus eliminat- 
ing the necessity of choice. To some, the sea is the essence of 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 133 

beauty, but to me, the glory and strength of mountains is the 
very presence of God Himself. 

Someone had given me the name of this little Hotel "Du 
Pare," and when we reached here about five, I took a taxi to 
it and found it perfectly satisfactory. It is not in either equip- 
ment and atmosphere my wonderful Hotel D'ltalia in Rome. 
The Swiss are a widely different people from the Italians. 
More practical, more cleanly, it is true, but, as the Italians seem 
to have absorbed the warmth of their sunshine, so the Swiss 
seem to have the strength and perhaps some of the coldness of 
their mountains. They give you capable and conscientious 
service, proportioned exactly to what you are paying for it. 
But I feel none of the instant sympathy, the swift enfolding 
warmth which everywhere in Italy made an atmosphere of joy 
and protection about me. This morning I took a taxi and 
went to the American Express to procure a guide. The dis- 
tance is about a good block, but I paid three francs. Guess 
you must pay that if you cross the street in a car here. It 
amounts to sixty cents, and after Milan and Rome with their 
lovely little "carozzas" in which you could ride blocks and 
blocks for thirty, it seemed a bit high. The Express said that 
they could give me a guide for the afternoon. I honestly tried 
to secure a lady. Now do not look so skeptical, girls, I did. 
But that was impossible. However, when he came, he proved 
to be so much younger than the much-sought-for Italian count 
that he did not count. Before I went back to the hotel this 
morning, I went and had the best shampoo and wave I have 
had in Europe. These Swiss certainly do whatever they attempt 
amazingly well. My guide came promptly at two as per 
appointment. 

The one great interest here is in the ancient castle of 
Chillon, the scene of Lord Byron's famous poem, 'The Prisoner 
of Chillon." This castle dates back to anywhere between the 
ninth and the twelfth centuries. It is utterly unlike anything 
which I have seen. It contains no treasures of art and beauty; 
on the contrary, it is a rugged mass of rough stone, so utterly 
primitive in construction and in furnishings that one is im- 



134 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

mediately transported hundreds of years backward, to a time 
long before the art of the Renaissance had brought beauty and 
grace into the lives of men and women. The walls are mas- 
sive rough stone with everywhere holes for cannon. I saw 
one of these cannons, and the barrel was made of wood. The 
pillars and ceilings are of wood which has petrified and become 
as hard as stone. I touched one door which I insisted was iron 
until the guide told me it was nothing more or less than petri- 
fied wood. 

The center of interest is, of course, the dungeon where Lord 
Byron's Prisoner spent seven unspeakable years tied to a pillar, 
round and round and round which he walked until he had 
worn a deep circle in the solid stone. That circle can not now 
be seen as the floor has been restored, but the pillar and the 
iron ring to which he was fastened are still there. The story, 
you will remember, is that a young priest, "Bonnivard," was 
sent from Bern to try to unite the kingdoms of Bern and Savoy. 
The Dukes of Savoy, who lived in this castle, caught him, made 
him prisoner, and tied him thus to this pillar, where for seven 
years he walked this fearful circle of despair. At the end of 
that time, the Princes of Bern fought a successful battle against 
the Dukes of Savoy and released the hapless prisoner, who by 
some miracle of endurance was still alive. 

The castle is built on the solid natural rock and therefore 
is not damp as are most such places. It directly overlooks the 
lake, and they used to throw the bodies of condemned 
prisoners over the battlements into the water. Also there is a 
trap door which goes down, no one knows to where, and when 
they wished to kill an enemy secretly, they opened this door 
and flung him down. Deadly cruel must have been these 
Dukes of Savoy. The whole plan of the castle seems to have 
been to make it impregnable without and hell to any hapless 
prisoner brought within its massive iron gates. Every room 
has a great fireplace in which a whole log could easily 
be burned. The chairs and tables, of which there are in each 
room only as many as are absolutely necessary, are made of 
wood beautifully carved and very massive. The tables are 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 135 

double, that is, like two heavy pieces of wood, the one on top 
of the other. At one end is a hinge, and when they wished 
to make the table larger, they simply lifted up one layer and 
laid it over exactly as you open a book. The one thing of 
beauty in these rooms was the great carved chest which was 
ever present. Many of these were hope chests, and one had 
on it names and coats of arms of both the man and the girl. 
One had carved upon its front three scenes: first, the birth of 
a baby, second, Adam and Eve, third, the crucifixion. The 
carving was beautiful, but the whole effect a bit incongruous. 
Indeed, nothing in this castle even remotely suggested art or 
beauty. The cruelty and barbarism of the early centuries every- 
where confronted you without any reserve. 

Tomorrow, I am taking the boat for Geneva, a ride of 
about four hours on Lake Leman. This lake is often, but my 
guide says, most incorrectly, called Lake Geneva, since at 
Geneva it is but a narrow remnant of itself. I am really begin- 
ning to feel like an experienced traveler, and Geneva, and 
even Paris, do not seem to have any terrors for me. May the 
spell still work. 

Wednesday evening, June 8, 1927 

It is seldom safe to infer what I am likely to do from what 
I say on the subject. I certainly had expected to be in Geneva 
this evening, yet here I am in my pleasant little room at 
Montreux after a most delightful day. 

After dinner last evening, the charming little Mademoiselle 
who seems to act as hostess in this delightful hotel came to 
me and asked if she might present to me a lady who had been 
wishing to meet me. She introduced her as Mrs. Smith. Now 
Smith is not a very revealing name, either as to nationality or 
as to characteristics, but this particular Mrs. Smith proved to 
be a lovely English lady who began by saying that all day 
she had been wishing that she might be doing something to 
make my stay in Montreux pleasant. I certainly never shall be 
able to understand this marvelous circle of kind thought with 



136 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

which everywhere seems to surround me. No one knows so 
well as does its object how little it is deserved. Yet it seems 
to be unfailing. I call it a circle because it has no end. Mrs. 
Gordon-Smith asked if I would like to walk along the lake, 
and we went immediately. 

Montreux is a far more beautiful spot than I had until that 
moment realized. The paved roadway follows the lake. On 
one side are beautiful hotels and private homes, every one 
with its lovely garden abloom at this moment with roses, 
petunias, and every variety of June blossom. I have never seen 
such roses. I touched one or two bushes in the garden at one 
of the hotels, the Palace, which is probably the most fashion- 
able in Montreux. On the other side of the road toward the 
lake are great trees, many of which droop down and touch the 
water. The lake is divided from the road by a rocky parapet 
or wall, and this is literally covered with climbing honeysuckle, 
which seems to grow out of the very rock itself and to cover 
it with a garment of fragrant beauty. The queen of this lovely 
land is the gentle Dent-du-Midi, standing not too high, not too 
grand; brooding over all the valley like a tender mother. At 
her feet Montreux and all her other village children nestle, 
sheltered and safe. The Jungfrau is grand, majestic, over- 
awing, but the Dent-du-Midi is strength and tenderness and 
pitying love. I have never seen so lovely a spot or one which 
so breathes the peace of God. 

Near the end of our walk, Mrs. Gordon-Smith said, "I 
wish you were not going tomorrow; I would take you up to 
Pleiades." Then and there my plans for this day were utterly 
changed. Mrs. Gordon-Smith shopped with me this morning. 
Ah! these Swiss shops. They are utterly demoralizing. They 
assail your good resolutions at every point. The only safety 
lies in flight. This afternoon we went up to Pleiades. 
Pleiades is a lovely little mountain, about an hour's ride from 
Montreux. A part of the way one goes by tram, the rest by 
the little mountain train. For miles one rides through field 
after field of narcissus, now in full bloom. I could never have 
imagined such a riot of these flowers, for a dozen of which 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 137 

one pays a dollar at home. The fragrance and beauty are won- 
derful. At the top of the mountain, in the very midst of this 
mass of bloom, is a quaint little restaurant where we had tea, 
only mine was coffee, and very good at that, with bread and 
butter and lovely mountain honey. Of course, since I was 
there, it had to rain at the last, but that did not materially spoil 
the day. My friend Mrs. Gordon-Smith was a delightful com- 
panion, and the day was a joy. 

Hotel Central, 
Geneva, Switzerland 
Thursday evening 

This time I really have, as you see, torn myself away from 
lovely Montreux. Not willingly, I assure you; nor did my 
friend Mrs. Gordon-Smith or yet the Mademoiselle make it 
any easier, for they begged me to remain over Sunday. It 
would have been a joy to rest for a week in that peaceful spot. 
But I am so glad that at least I have seen it. The journey from 
Montreux to Geneva on the beautiful Lake Leman was a 
delight. After the boat had left Montreux, I learned that going 
by this particular boat I must change at Lausanne. Boats are 
not as easy as trains. However, the men were very kind and 
helped me to land and to get the Geneva boat without 
difficulty. 

The day was cool with a soft haze in the air, and one felt 
the beauty all about one. It was one of the few, very few, 
times when I was vividly conscious that I could not see it, 
perhaps because there was no one to describe it to me; but I 
knew that everywhere were the brooding mountains guarding 
their lake jewel. Sometimes these Swiss mountains create an 
impression of unreality, as if they were formed of the same 
frail fabric as the clouds which enfold them. There were few 
passengers for Geneva, but among them were a young French- 
man and his mother who were very kind to me, although my 
French is enough to estrange the affections of any one who 
claims French as his native tongue. However, they were long- 



138 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

suffering, and when I made them understand that I wished a 
taxi for Hotel Central, the young man procured it for me. 
This is a nice, quiet little hotel which was recommended to 
me by the man who dressed my hair in Montreux. And behold, 
when I reached here, he had already telephoned the hotel so 
that a room was reserved for me. Would we in America do 
as much for a passing stranger? 

My day in Geneva was something of a disappointment, 
partly because it rained, partly, perhaps, because I had no real 
guide. In the afternoon, the daughter of the proprietor of my 
friendly little hotel took me to see the new "John Calvin" 
monument. I could not touch it because at its base is a little 
artificial lake. It consists of reliefs on a long wall, of 
prominent characters in the Reformation, with Calvin in the 
center. It is very unusual. On the whole, I fancy that Geneva 
is less picturesque than any other Swiss city. It is so near 
France, a matter of less than half an hour by train, that it seems 
French. Do you know the story of the Copper Kettle? One 
night, in the year 1602, some soldiers crept into Geneva. They 
had laid plans to take the city asleep. An old lady in a tiny 
house had chosen that night for making a kettle of soup. She 
heard the soldiers, and looking out of her little window, de- 
cided that they were enemies. Whereupon she flung the boil- 
ing soup, kettle and all, into the midst of their advancing lines. 
The result was inevitable. The tumult awakened all Geneva, 
and the city was saved. On the 12th of December, the anni- 
versary of this event is still celebrated in a carnival, which from 
my little friend's description must be quaint and delightful. 
I bought a tiny counterpart of the kettle. 

I had expected to leave Geneva by an early morning train 
on Saturday. At the last moment I discovered that I could 
not take that train on my ticket, and that it was a choice 
between another all-night ride like the one from Rome to 
Milan, or reaching Paris at eleven o'clock at night. Of the 
two evils, I chose the former, thus proving anew the folly of 
ever saying that one would not do a thing a second time. 

Again, the compartment was full and the night long. I 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 139 

am sure that I destroyed the peace of most of its occupants 
because they were so disturbed as to what would happen to me 
when I reached Paris. They one and all offered me most 
minute directions as to just the best possible procedure, but as 
no two of the programmes were alike, I found it a bit confusing. 
There was a dear old gentleman, a missionary from South 
Africa, who really told me most wonderful stories of his ex- 
periences, and secured for all time my interest in my far-off 
brothers of that strange and un-understood land. He has worked 
there for thirty years or more, and he and his wife are only 
at home on furlough and return shortly. And would you be- 
lieve it? They are looking forward with utmost eagerness 
to going back to that life of hardship and intense toil. Re- 
garded through the mirror of such self-sacrificing devotion, 
the vision of my own life was anything but flattering. 

We reached Paris about nine in the morning. Everybody 
in my compartment waited to see me safely in the hands of the 
American Express man who always meets incoming trains. 
I went first to the American Express for the letters with which 
some of my home friends so kindly greeted me. Never did 
my inability to read my own letters seem quite such a hard- 
ship. However, one friend had sent two in New York point, 
and the reading of those was a joy. For the others I was forced 
to wait through a long day. A friend in Milan had given 
me the name of "Hotel Cosmos" on Rue Lentonnet, and 
thither I betook myself, or rather my taxi took me. Alas, my 
French has proven hopelessly wanting, and as the lady in 
charge speaks nothing else, we had some difficulty in estab- 
lishing any sort of "en rapport." However, she deduced, prob- 
ably from my hungry look, that breakfast would not come 
amiss and produced k with neatness and dispatch. Then she 
took me to a room which was to be mine temporarily until my 
permanent abode, if you can call a hotel room such, should 
be ready. I think that never before have I realized how much 
the human family owes to the man who invented beds. Did 
any one man do it ? Or are they the creation of composite in- 
tellects? Anyway, my gratitude was deep and sincere. 



140 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Evidently, my pride in my success as a traveler needed 
humbling, and Paris has taken it upon herself to give me the 
needed lesson. The first blow was dealt when I sent for my 
trunk, only to discover that it was still on the Italian frontier 
at Domo d'Ossola. Now Italy has a peculiar complex which, 
so far as I know, is shared by no other country. She seems to 
think it necessary to examine not only all incoming, but also 
outgoing baggage. To me it has not an atom of sense; how- 
ever, so it is. No one, either at the ticket agency or at the rail- 
way station, took the trouble to tell me of this. I shipped my 
trunk in the calm assurance that it would meet me at Paris. 
Instead it is still in Italy awaiting my key so that the Customs 
Officer can see whether I am taking away any of the Crown 
Jewels, I suppose. Since I planned to burden myself with as 
little as possible in my journey from Milan to Paris, it seems 
likely that I may be forced to take to the privacy of my own 
boudoir before my trunk shall arrive. 

My undoing was complete yesterday when I learned, after 
going from one bank to another, that nobody wanted my nice 
little bank drafts because I am compelled to use a stamp signi- 
ture. Just how I am going to solve this problem, I really do 
not know. But I have an appointment this morning with the 
American Ambassador, Myron T. Herrick, and am hoping that 
he may suggest some way out of the difficulty. For my intro- 
duction which makes this interview possible, I am indebted, as 
for all else which has made this wonderful experience mine, 
to Our Lady of the Great Heart. To be in Paris without 
money and without clothes is not, believe me, quite the thrill- 
ing romance that the story writers make it appear. Italy never 
bothered about my stamp signature; so I do not see why 
France should. On the other hand, they assure me that France 
will permit me to make my parting bow and exit gracefully 
with all my worldly possessions, unchallenged. So every coun- 
try seems to have its advantages and its disadvantages. 

The street venders of Paris sing their wares. This morn- 
ing one had a lovely little melody in the key of A minor. I 
wish I knew what it was all about. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 141 

2 P. M. 

I have seen our American Ambassador. Those of us who 
live in Cleveland know that fine, gracious, sincere personality, 
and are proud to claim him as our own. Any man who can 
be utterly loyal to his own country and yet make himself so 
deeply beloved as is Mr. Herrick by the French, in a country 
where his is not too popular, must be at once a great diplomat 
and a fine gentleman. One of the most attractive elements 
in Mr. Herrick' s charming personality is his low, well- 
modulated voice. It seems, somehow, to give you at once the 
key to his character. He aided me with simple kindliness to 
solve my money problems, so that I may reasonably hope to 
have a shelter over my head and some food while in Paris. 

To-night, am going to hear the opera, "The Resurrection," 
with Mary Garden in the leading role. 

Wednesday Morning 

Last night made itself memorable in two ways. First I 
heard Mary Garden do a marvelous role in a most unusual 
opera. Second, I made two wonderful new friends. I went 
down to the opera with some people who are living at this 
hotel, but my seat was not with theirs, so I sat alone. I found 
myself up in the top gallery banged against a wall in one of 
the loges. It was not comfortable. Directly in front of me I 
became conscious that two young women were speaking 
English, not as it is spoken in the King's country, but as we 
speak it in the good old U. S. A., and there is a marked differ- 
ence. Not that these young women raised their voices, or 
employed slang, or spoke flippantly of the things and people 
about them. Their voices were low and well-modulated, and 
their English faultless. But there was a certain warmth and 
eagerness in all that they said. At last I took my courage in 
my hand and spoke to them. My greeting met with instant 
response. In a moment I realized that I was speaking to two 
cultured, gracious, sincere girls whom to know would be a 



142 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

joy. I learned that one of them actually lived in Ravenna, 
which is almost a suburb of Cleveland. The other comes from 
Washington, D. C. Both attended a well-known Ohio col- 
lege. Both admitted that this was their first trip abroad, and 
they made no effort to conceal their vivid interest in every- 
thing about them. Next to them was a vacant seat, and we so 
regretted that I had not happened to get it. By the end of the 
first act, our regret crystallized into determination. Miss Ed- 
monston said, "Do you suppose you could possibly climb down 
over the back of this seat?" I not only supposed that I could, 
but proceeded to demonstrate my ability to achieve. Possibly, 
had we been anywhere except in the top gallery, my courage 
might not have held. As it was, if I shocked any proper and 
conventional individuals, they were kind enough to keep the 
fact to themselves. The rest of the evening was a delight, 
quite as much between acts as when the opera was in progress. 
"The Resurrection" is founded on Tolstoi's book of that name. 
The music is by Alf ano, the Italian composer who was chosen 
by Toscanini to finish "Turandot" after the death of Puccini. 
The music of "The Resurrection" is, to me, far, far more beau- 
tiful than that of "Turandot," and the drama is intense and 
fraught with deepest meaning. That Mary Garden is not a 
great singer, or even at times a pleasing one, is well known 
as is the fact that she is a superlatively great actress. The 
character of Catharine presents in its development four stages, 
so widely different and each so vivid and significant that their 
interpretation must surely at some point baffle any interpreter 
less supremely endowed with the dramatic gift than is Mary 
Garden. To say that she presented each one with equal vivid- 
ness and truth is to offer her the highest possible tribute. It 
always seems to me a regrettable thing that Miss Garden did 
not choose the legitimate drama as her mode of expression. 
If she had, she certainly would rank as a star of the first mag- 
nitude. But her vocal limitations are so great that in opera 
one feels almost a sense of pity. I left the opera that evening 
feeling that I had met two of the most charming American 
girls whom it had ever been my privilege to know, and regret- 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 143 

ting that in all probability I should not see them again. But 
I did not know my girlies. 

I had not been able to secure a guide, and the morning 
after the opera found me perplexed and more nearly disheart- 
ened than I have been since I began this undertaking of seeing 
something of Europe alone. I was just beginning to indulge 
that most stupid of all mental attitudes, namely self-pity, when 
a rap at my door recalled me to the fact that there were other 
people in the world besides my useless self. And there were 
my two adorable girls. They calmly announced that they had 
come to see me and to ask if they might come to this hotel 
for the sake of being with me. If ever again I lose faith in 
the loving Providence which presides over my daily life, then 
I do not deserve to be forgiven. We have had a wonderful 
week together. I doubt if there are in all Europe two more 
intelligent, interesting girls, and their sweet unselfishness is 
wonderful. They have taken me everywhere with them. 

Wednesday afternoon we went to the Luxembourg. The 
gardens are beautiful, and to me atone for the lack of interest 
I felt in the museum. This lack of appeal may, of course, be 
utterly due to my ignorance. The museum contains room after 
room of pictures by modern artists, many of which seemed to 
me mere splashes of paint. They are like some modern music, 
so highly colored that it seems difficult to know just what 
they mean. But again I may be all wrong. We had tea at a 
delightful tiny tea room near the Museum, and on our way 
home got lost and went way out to Montmartre. It was all 
such fun. 

On Thursday morning my girlies came over, bag and bag- 
gage. As soon as they were settled in their room, we started 
out. These two girls have the true explorer's spirit. Unlike 
the average American girl in Paris, they find but slight inter- 
est in the grand Boulevards with the endless display of clothes 
and knick-knacks. Their quest is to know the real heart of 
Paris, to see her where she lives, to understand her when she 
is not on parade to capture American eyes and money. To 
this end they have learned more in a week about the byways 



144 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

of this fascinating, mysterious, incomprehensible old city, than 
many who have lived in it for months. It is the first time that 
I have found companionship with those who shared the same 
"love for quest," the same passion to know the inner life of a 
city which ever lures me. No, I must except my friend Mrs. 
Roege, who was with me in Genoa. To her, too, it was the 
hidden meanings of a city life that wooed. We wandered down 
along the quay, past the famous old book stalls which are noth- 
ing more or less than great iron boxes which open and shut, 
and which the proprietors close up and lock when it rains, or 
when they do not wish to watch them. They stand on the old 
wall which overlooks the river, and they display an indescribable 
conglomeration of books of every kind in every stage of pres- 
ervation or destruction. An old opera score hobnobs inti- 
mately with a boj's dog-eared school book. A French novel, 
much the worse for wear, flirts shamelessly with a solemn old 
scientific work which tries in vain not to notice it. There 
are old engravings whose right to the name of pictures only 
the truly understanding art connoisseur could verify. All these 
gambol together without even the slightest effort at arrange- 
ment. We went from here to the spot where all the knowl- 
edge of the world is properly assorted, labeled, and dispensed, 
namely the "Sorbonne." This university, one of the greatest 
in the world, is housed in a marvelous group of buildings, 
whose dignity and vast proportions bespeak the influence wKich 
this institution has exercised upon the world's thought through 
centuries of ever-changing concepts. I could have wished to 
see this more thoroughly, but it is, of course, difficult to achieve 
unless one has some entree. I was surprised to learn that the 
Sorbonne was named from "Monsieur Sorbon," who was one 
of its founders. 

From the university we went to the church of Saint Etienne. 
This is one of the oldest churches in Paris, or at least is built 
on the site of one of the oldest. It has a fascinating little 
gallery all round it, not used for seating the congregation like 
the galleries in our churches but as a place where the priest 
may stand. The full name of this church is Saint Etienne du 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 145 

Mont, I suppose because it stands upon a bill. In this church 
is the tomb of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, 
stories of whose piety and miraculous power meet one at every 
point. It contains also the tombs of Clovis and his wife Clo- 
tilde. Clovis was a worshiper of Pagan gods, his wife a Chris- 
tian. When the battle was going against him, she implored 
him to pray to her God. At length he yielded, but like so 
many of the rest of us, not until there seemed to be no other 
hope. The battle turned in his favor, and he became a Chris- 
tian and was the first Christian king in the country which we 
now know as France. Naturally, then, with both Clovis and 
Saint Genevieve as object of devotion, Saint Etienne is a shrine 
for pilgrims from all over France. It has stairways which wind 
round pillars in a most indescribable manner. Altogether 
Saint Etienne is utterly individual. 

In the afternoon, we went to the Pantheon, which of 
course is, like that of Rome, the resting place of its country's 
heroes. It is, however, in structure utterly different from the 
Roman Pantheon. The tombs are in a crypt below the main 
floor, and the latter is filled with marvelous sculptures and pic- 
tures. One particularly fascinated me. It was the picture of 
the martyrdom of Saint Dennis. The story is that while Saint 
Dennis was in the midst of a sermon, the enemies of Chris- 
tianity cut off his head, whereupon the saint calmly picked 
up the head, put it on again, and continued the sermon. Look- 
ing at the picture, you are really almost convinced of the truth 
of the legend, so vivid is its portrayal. The gentle Saint Gene- 
vieve seems to have been the favorite subject for both painters 
and sculptors. Everywhere in the Pantheon one sees this 
gracious maiden. One picture especially represents a night 
scene in which she broods above the sleeping city like a 
guardian angel. 

On Saturday morning, we joined a touring party for Ver- 
sailles. On our way we stopped at the famous "Malmaison," 
literally, "Bad House," so called because it was formerly a 
hospital for the care of the worst types of patients, those whose 
illness was the result of their own sins. In 1797, it was bought 



146 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

by Josephine, wife of Napoleon. He was at the time in Egypt, 
and on his return he went to her in this house which she had 
transformed into a beautiful palace, and there from 1799 till 
1804 they lived in idyllic love and happiness. The palace lit- 
erally cries out the name of this beautiful and unhappy woman 
whose great love was ruthlessly sacrificed to Napoleon's pas- 
sion for power. Josephine was intensely feminine. She loved 
to embroider. Some of the rooms still display specimens of 
her skill. She often, in the years between 1809, when 
Napoleon divorced her, and 1814, when she died, was com- 
pelled to pay her bills with the work of her hands. But this 
was, our guide assured us, not because Napoleon was un- 
generous with her, but because she simply could not keep 
money. She loved clothes and luxury, and so her allowance 
was never adequate. We saw the room in which she spent 
her mornings at work in the company of her daughter, Hor- 
tensia. The latter was the wife of King Louis of Holland, 
brother of Napoleon. After her mother's separation from 
the Emperor, Hortensia came to Malmaison to be Josephine's 
companion and comfort. We also saw the boudoir of the 
Empress. On its walls were twelve little pictures showing as 
many different ways of doing the hair. Every morning Joseph- 
ine looked at these and selected the coiffeur for that particular 
day. If only she had known how much easier it is to wear it 
bobbed! She might have saved herself endless trouble, and 
yet an Empress with bobbed hair! She had her boudoir tapes- 
tried to resemble a tent because she wished to live as nearly 
as possible as Napoleon was compelled to live when he was 
away at war. 

Josephine loved her garden, and above all had a passion 
for roses. She had two hundred and sixteen varieties of these, 
most of which still bloom in the lovely garden, among them 
the famed "Malmaison Rose." 

Napoleon married Josephine in 1797 and most of that time 
until 1804 they lived in Malmaison. Then Napoleon found 
it necessary to move to the Tuileries Palace. When he 
divorced Josephine in 1809, she returned to Malmaison, and 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 147 

died there in 1814. Napoleon was six years younger than she, 
and, it would seem, a great deal more than six times unworthy 
of her devotion. 

I approached Versailles with emotions mingled of eager- 
ness and reluctance. Would Dresden and Potsdam and Vienna 
and Florence and Rome dim the glory of this, my first vision 
of old-world splendor? One thing certainly was true, namely 
that this visit to Versailles had none of the unpleasant ex- 
perience connected with my first. Our guide was lovely and 
showed to me every consideration. This summer, Versailles 
is everywhere thronged with workmen busy with the restoration 
of the palace, which the gifts of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 
have made possible. These gifts amount to about fifty thou- 
sand dollars, and are to be devoted to the restoration not only 
of Versailles, but of Fontainebleau and other French palaces. 
If Malmaison breathed of Josephine and Napoleon, Ver- 
sailles literally cries out the names of Louis the Fourteenth 
and Marie Antoinette, to say nothing of Louis the Fifteenth 
and Sixteenth and that monarch of bad taste, Louis the Eight- 
eenth, who in his zeal to restore Versailles, a zeal untempered 
by a grain of artistic sense, well nigh ruined the art and beauty 
of the palace. They call him "the king of bad taste," and 
say that he gave his contracts to whoever would put on the 
most paint in a given time. Louis the Fourteenth was a colos- 
sal egotist. He called himself the Sun, and that heavenly 
body was his emblem. In the chapel all the people of the 
court were seated so as to face, not the altar, but the king, 
because he said he was the only medium by which they could 
hope to approach heaven. Before the king rose each morning, 
the courtiers gathered in the anteroom, each eager for the 
honor of acting as his valet. As this honor was conferred 
by no law of precedent or rotation but solely in accord with 
the humor of the Monarch at the moment, there were many 
disappointments in store for the hapless courtiers who did not 
for the moment stand in high favor. Louis the Fourteenth, 
in spite of all he did for art and the glory of France, must 
have been an insufferable prig. 



148 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

In spite of the noise and confusion of workmen, and in the 
face of all comparisons, I left Versailles with the splendor of 
my memory undimmed. Perhaps this is because of the tenacity 
of first impressions. But Versailles is still a dream palace to 
me. From it we went to the Petit Trianon. This palace was 
built by Louis the Fifteenth not for his queen but originally 
for Madame Pompadour, for whom he entertained the ' grande 
passion." But she died before its completion, and it became 
the possession of the woman who so soon superseded her in 
the king's affections, Madame DuBarry. 

Standing on the shore of the little lake which is the shin- 
ing way between Versailles and Petit Trianon, it is easy to 
imagine the king, escaped from the wearisome formalities of 
his court, taking his tiny boat as the setting sun transformed 
the lake into a golden glory and hastening to the lady of his 
heart. And it is easy, too, to picture the lovely Madame Du- 
Barry entering her boat and hastening to meet her lover mid- 
way between the palaces. If she sinned grievously against 
Louis' rightful queen, she paid dearly for that sin, for in the 
days of the Revolution her connection with the king brought 
her to the guillotine. 

When Louis the Sixteenth became king, he brought his 
queen, the lovely little Marie Antoinette, to the palace of Ver- 
sailles. But the young queen soon came to hate the great 
palace with its noise and show. To escape it and perhaps 
partly to escape its king, who seems to have been greatly her 
inferior intellectually, she fled to the Petit Trianon, from 
which, of course, after the death of Louis the Fifteenth, 
Madame DuBarry was compelled to betake herself. Marie 
Antoinette loved the simple life. She loved to spend her days 
roaming the hills, dressed as a shepherdess. She built a tiny 
village which we saw. She peopled it with humble folk who 
tended her cows and sheep and even pigs, and cared for her 
gardens where she raised all the vegetables and fruit for her 
little palace. She often went out of a morning and helped 
to milk the cows with her own queenly little hands. But it 
was at Versailles that she with her king was finally captured 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 149 

and taken back to Paris by the soldiers of the Revolution. 
LaFayette was in command, and he promised them protection. 
He doubtless did all in his power to keep his promise, and 
for four years they were practically held as political prisoners 
and were given freedom and protection. But it is one thing 
to command an army and another to control the madness of a 
mob. In the end, the guillotine claimed the king, and a few 
months later, the gentle queen. I am not recalling all this to 
tell you what you already know, but simply because as I stood 
looking at the little village which now lies silent and deso- 
late, the fate of its fair mistress became, not a mere story 
which I had read, but a living and vivid reality. Perhaps 
it is this creative spell which constructs anew the people and 
events of history, which is the magic of Versailles. 

On Saturday morning, we went to the Grand Palais. At 
present this museum has an exhibition of paintings and sculp- 
ture for 1926 and 1927. Some of the statues were charming, 
though not great. Among the pictures were a few lovely little 
landscapes, but many of them seemed to me merely masses of 
paint whose significance was as impossible to discover as that 
of Stravinsky's music. But then, I fear that I am not a modern- 
ist in art. 

Saturday evening, I went alone to the Opera Comique to 
hear two little operas, "L'Enfant et les Sortileges," by Ravel, 
and "Le Jongleur de Notre Dame," by Massenet. Anything 
more essentially French it would be difficult to conceive. Both 
were delightful. The first is the story of a naughty child who 
grew discontented with everything in general, whereupon the 
things about him undertook the task of punishing him. The 
furniture, the toys, the animals, even the flowers all turned 
against him until at length in despair he utters the magic 
cry "Mamma," and then all turn to him and take him back 
to the one supreme source of comfort. It was darling, and 
very well done. "The Jongleur," you doubtless know, al- 
though it was new to me. The part of the Jongleur was taken 
by Charles Friant, a French tenor of whom I had never heard, 
but who sang and interpreted beautifully. The best product 



150 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

musically that they have over here seems to be tenors, and 
as they are rare birds with us, I marvel that we do not import 
more of the French variety. After the opera, one of the ushers 
instantly came to me and offered to get my taxi. I had not 
the slightest difficulty. Really, I do not see that Paris is any 
more impossible than Cleveland. 

Sunday morning we went to Saint Madelaine. It was a 
special festival, and the crowds were so great that we really 
could neither see nor hear so gave it up. We went to lunch at 
a charming little tea room, and had scones. Do you know 
them? If not, you have certainly missed something. Sunday 
evening, we went to hear the opera, "Mignon." The music is 
pleasing though not great, but the performance was both dra- 
matically and musically most disappointing. 

Monday morning brought with it the guide which, through 
one of the ladies in the hotel, I had been fortunate enough to 
find. She is French but speaks English very well. If she did 
not, it would be hopeless. My Italian is poor, but my French 
simply is not. I had thought that I knew a little, but since 
coming to Paris have learned that it is easy enough to imagine 
that a few verbs constitute a language, but they do not. For 
one thing, every time I attempt to speak French, I think in 
Italian. How these Europeans speak half a dozen languages 
in an hour, all with equal fluency, is beyond me. 

All the museums close in Paris on Monday. I did not 
understand why until my guide told me that it was cleaning 
day. Monday is therefore shopping day. Now it is written 
in the book that she who leaves Paris without buying at least 
one Parisian dress might just as well never have been 
there. Like the "Fair Maid of Ostend," I had 'Vowed to hold 
out to the end," against the lure of the shops. But it is just 
no use. It is in the air. Sooner or later it "gets you" in spite 
of your utmost resolution. A lady at the hotel told me of a 
wonderful little place where they reproduce the models of 
the grand shops. I sought it and found it more than all that 
she had said. You choose your model, and then they make 
the dress for you and you alone. This confession of feminine 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 151 

weakness is going to stop right here, I leave the rest to your 
imagination, only if you wish to protect your bank account, 
do not go to these French dress shops. 

On Monday evening, I met my dear girlies, and we went 
to dinner together. We have discovered the most delightful 
little restaurant. It is called Poule au Pot — "Chicken in the 
Pot" — and is kept by a Frenchman and his wife who lived for 
some years in Washington, D. C, and who love America. They 
are delightful people, and have the most adorable little kitten 
you ever saw. He says its name is Cicero, and she says it is 
Billykins, so out of courtesy to both Martha calls him one 
name and I the other. 

On Tuesday morning, we went to the American Express 
to arrange for my homeward journey. It is a time-consuming 
business, and has involved several return trips, but the Amer- 
ican Express in Paris is certainly a wonderful institution and 
does more to make Americans happy than anything else so far 
as practical details are concerned. They are unfailingly kind, 
and they have every possible arrangement for our comfort and 
convenience. Also, their charges seem to me perfectly reason- 
able. 

In the afternoon, we went first to Des Invalides. A 
part of this building is devoted to the care of permanently 
disabled soldiers of the last war. The rest contains a museum 
in which the art works have to do largely with the history of 
France ; its greatest treasures are, however, the tomb and chapel 
of Napoleon. These are as imposing as even his proud spirit 
could wish. We were most fortunate in our choice of the 
ideal moment for our visit, for there was a military demon- 
stration to dedicate a tablet celebrating the Mission which for 
the first time crossed the Sahara desert in an automobile, in 
1922. The soldiers were reviewed by the minister of war, 
and there were addresses by notables. The band played the 
Marseillaise. I touched the automobile which had been espe- 
cially constructed for the crossing of the desert. It was unique 
with wide grooved wheels. 

From Des Invalides, we went to the museum of Rodin in 



152 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

which are models of practically everything which his fertile 
genius has created, from 'The Thinker," to some lovely statues 
of children. Rodin's sculpture is, of course, so different from 
that of any other artist, and I am so ignorant of the 
technic of the art that I feel incapable of expressing any 
opinion, but to me it seemed so rugged and vast and lacking in 
detail as to be almost crude compared with the Greek art which 
I saw in Florence and Rome. It is, I think, always impression- 
istic, rather than detailed. Of course, the "Thinker" is won- 
derful. I liked best of all the smaller works, a statue called 
'The Martyr," not any particular martyr but a representation 
of the heroic spirit which would meet such a fate calmly. 
Rodin has also made wonderful statues of Victor Hugo. In- 
deed, he immortalized in marble or bronze almost all his con- 
temporaries and countrymen who were great in any high 
achievement. Since Rodin died in 1917, this means that his 
work is utterly modern, not only in character but largely in its 
choice of subjects. 

Wednesday morning, we went to the Eiffel Tower, and 
this time I did not stop until I had reached the top, and that 
means being some 984 feet above the rest of the world of 
Paris. We changed elevators four times. It chanced to be a 
marvelously clear day. My guide, who has been there many 
times, said that never had she seen the view so wonderful. I 
must admit that when I stood on the top with the glory of 
sunlight all around me and heard every one exclaiming at the 
beauty of the panorama, there was a moment in which my 
handicap seemed a cruel imprisoning mystery, and for hours 
I found it impossible to be quite content to see only with 
the eye of the imagination. I had always stupidly imagined 
that the Eiffel Tower was built to commemorate some French 
victory. Instead, it was, as you probably know though I did 
not, built for the Paris Exposition of 1888. We ate lunch in 
the pleasant little restaurant on the first elevation. 

After lunch, we went to the Trocadero, a museum devoted 
largely to sculpture. It contains reproductions of the doors 
and statues and tombs of most of the famous cathedrals of 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 153 

France and it served to stimulate my growing longing to visit 
and to know this marvelous country outside its capital. Paris 
is, of course, no more France than New York is America. 

Next, we stood under the mighty "Arc de Triomphe" built 
by Napoleon in 1806 to commemorate all his victories. A list 
of these is to be seen engraved in the arches. Of these arches 
there are four, supported by magnificent columns and with 
colossal statues of Napoleon and his generals: some of these 
are equestrian and the horses are as wonderful as their riders. 
But the vital thing to me was the grave of the "Unknown 
Soldier." It is covered with a round bronze tablet, and as you 
know from the center of this shines a perpetual flame. What 
I did not know was that each night at exactly six o'clock a man, 
always a different one, sometimes a soldier, often a great officer, 
comes and widens this opening to allow the flame to shine 
more brightly. On this day there was a beautiful floral tribute 
from a group of young Canadian girls. The card read, "From 
the rising of the sun, to the setting of the sun, we remember." 
We pay thus our high homage to the heroic dead, but ah, what 
can we do for those who live on maimed, blinded, impover- 
ished, broken in spirit, corrupted in morals? War glorious? 
Ah, no. War is the supremest degradation to which the human 
race can fall. 

We finished this rather large day with "Sacre Coeur." As 
this beautiful church stands on the highest point in Paris, it 
meant a climb of 265 steps, but it was worth it. I loved it. 
It impressed me even more than it had done last summer. 
There is about Sacre Coeur a sort of gentle dignity utterly 
unlike the austerity of many cathedrals. 

I said we had finished this day, but that was by no means 
true. In the evening, my girlies and I went to the Opera 
Comique to hear "Manon" by Massenet, in case you do not 
happen to remember. If Cleveland had an opera company, 
as it should, I would be ashamed to admit that I had never 
heard this well-known opera. But as it is, one certainly cannot 
be expected to go to New York every time one wishes to hear 
a particular work, or at least — this one cannot. "Manon" is 



154 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

lovely, and if the Opera Comique does not present artists of 
the first rank, at least it may claim singers of ability and whose 
work displays great earnestness. 

We were obliged to devote Thursday morning to the tick- 
ets. I am sailing from Southampton on July 9th, on the 
cabin ship "Carmania." Incidentally, I am going to London 
on Tuesday the 28th by the Air Route. Now do not think 
I have deserted my senses. Really I think it will be easier 
than changing trains and boats, and — well, the truth may as 
well be out, I have always wanted the experience, and now 
I am going to have it. Over here they seem to think nothing 
of it. It has caused not even a thrill when I tell them, but 
I fancy that it will give me several. 

On Thursday afternoon, the girls and I went to Theatre 
Champs-Elysees, to hear Shaw's "Saint Joan." To me it is the 
best of the Shaw plays, and heard here in Paris, it was doubly 
significant. The title role was taken by Sibyl Thorndike, an 
English actress of great gifts. It was so lovely to hear once 
more a play in my native tongue. After the play we went as 
usual to our nice little restaurant where we feel utterly at 
home. We visit with the proprietor's wife, who is charming, 
we play with the kitten, and generally own the place. We all 
agreed that we were perfectly willing to have an evening at 
home. 

I had intended to go to the Louvre on Friday. My little 
guide does not know art; therefore, it was necessary to secure 
a special guide. When we inquired, we found that they 
charged $2.00 an hour. This was altogether beyond me. At 
first I felt baffled and disturbed, for the Louvre one must see, 
or at least attempt to see. But my friend the American Express 
once more came to the rescue. They said they would furnish 
me with a guide for sixty francs for the day if I would wait 
until Saturday. 

Accordingly, we went to Notre Dame on Friday. We 
lingered long in this historic church, and my guide showed 
me, much more of its structure and decorations than I saw 
last year. We also visited what is known as "The Treasures." 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 155 

These are of priceless worth, and can be seen only with a 
special guide, and by paying for the privilege. Here is the 
coronation robe of Napoleon. He was the only king of France 
who was crowned in Notre Dame. By the way, he displayed 
on that occasion his usual initiative. The Pope, who had come 
clear from Rome to perform the ceremony, was about to place 
the crown on the head of the Emperor, when Napoleon took it 
from his hands, remarking that as he was the greatest ruler, 
he must be crowned by the greatest, and that was himself. 
Modesty does not seem to be a virtue of the French kings, if 
one is to judge either by Louis the Fourteenth or by the great 
Emperor. We saw crowns of kings and queens, including that 
of Marie Antoinette. We saw one of the largest diamonds in 
the world. Of course, I was not allowed to touch any of these 
priceless things, and so had no temptation to try to escape 
with any of them. Nor did they greatly interest me. Pic- 
tures, statues, music, the creations of the geniuses of the world, 
seem to me far more fascinating. But this is perhaps because, 
never having had jewels, I am incapable of appreciating them. 

From here we went to an institution for the blind. First 
we saw the industrial department, and it was wonderful. They 
make many things which we do not; among these are lovely 
tooth brushes and hand brushes, and I also saw a dear little 
baby carriage, the body of willow, the wheels of wood, most 
skillfully wrought with the turning lathe. 

The people were very courteous, and showed us every- 
thing. From there we went into another building, or at least 
we tried to, but at first it seemed rather impossible. The porter 
opened his window a very little way, and said that we could 
not come in. After much urging, which my guide did in 
voluble French, he grudgingly opened the door. 

A scrub man quite deluged us with water, and we were 
left to wander about and search for the office as best we might. 
Finally, I spoke to a young blind man, evidently a student, 
who directed us upstairs to the apartment of the superinten- 
dent. In answer to our ring, a little Frenchman came to the 
door, his face covered with shaving lather. He seemed in- 



156 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

finitely annoyed, so we apologized profusely, although three 
in the afternoon did seem a peculiar hour for shaving. 

He retreated, but soon reappeared, shaved, although not 
in his right, or at least not in a pleasant, frame of mind. 

We asked a few questions about the school. He replied 
laconically. Once, when my guide ventured to ask an expla- 
nation of something which we did not understand, he inter- 
rupted sharply, saying, "Stop! Let me speak, and I shall tell 
you all you need to know." 

I did gather that the school is a musical conservatory for 
advanced students. I heard some one playing a pipe organ. 
I wished so much to see some of the work, but dared not ask 
the privilege. 

I deeply regret that I could not learn more about the 
school. 

On Saturday morning, which, by the way, was yesterday, 
I went at last to the Louvre. Of this, the most marvelous 
of all the museums, I shall not attempt to write; first, because 
it is too vast to be seen in any one day with any sort of under- 
standing; second, because my guide, while very kind and 
patient and acquainted in a way with what the Louvre con- 
tains, does not know comparative art, and could not make me 
see the pictures in any such way as I saw them through the 
eyes of my wonderful Miss Fawcett in Florence. The Louvre 
was begun in 1541, by Francis the First. Strangely enough, the 
name means "wolf," and has nothing whatever to do with 
the art, but comes from the fact that on its site was a forest 
full of wolves. The large court in front of the Louvre wit- 
nessed one of the most tragic events in all history. Here 
on August 24th, 1572, Saint Bartholomew's Eve, occurred the 
terrible Huguenot massacre. 

The first great hall of the Louvre is known as the Caritid 
Room. (At each end is a great bowl.) The acoustics of 
this hall are remarkable. My guide had me stand by the 
bowl at the entrance; then he went to the other end of the 
vast room, and spoke to me almost in mezzo voice. I could 
hear him perfectly. This room was once used to present plays 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 157 

for the French kings. It certainly would be heaven for an 
opera singer with a naturally small voice. This room contains 
many marvelous statues, most of them stolen by Napoleon, 
many from the Villa Borghese in Rome. 

Here also is the original of the great Venus de Milo. In 
the Louvre I met once more my beloved friends of Rome 
and Florence, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael. 
The most famous of all the works of Leonardo da Vinci, the 
Mona Lisa, is here. It was stolen by an Italian in 1911 and 
was gone for nearly three years. The thing happened on a 
Monday when the Louvre was closed, as always, to be cleaned. 
He was a painter working about the place, and because the 
great picture was by his countryman, he thought that it had 
been stolen by the French. He therefore cut it out of the 
frame and took it. For months, it was in his trunk. He finally 
took it to the Italian authorities, and they promptly returned 
it to France. King Francis the First paid to the artist a large 
sum for this picture. Leonardo was his favorite painter. It 
seems that kings had their own particular painters. Rubens 
was the painter for Henri de Navarre. There is an entire 
room devoted to his family: Henri, his first wife, Marguerite 
Valois, her daughter, Elizabeth of France, his second wife, 
Maria de' Medici, whom he married by proxy, sending his uncle 
for the purpose because he had seen her photograph and fallen 
in love with it. She bore him the coveted son, who was none 
other than Louis the Thirteenth, father of the great Louis. 
The mother of Louis the Fourteenth was Anne of Austria. 
You see, I learned more French history yesterday than I did 
comparative art. 

Of the French masters, I know almost nothing. Corot and 
Millais are, of course, household words, but most of the 
others are strangers to me. However, if reading will make 
them friends, they shall not be so by this time next year. The 
Louvre has, besides pictures and statues, remarkable collec- 
tions of all sorts of beautiful things: furniture, ivory, jewel- 
boxes. Of the last, there were great numbers. But all these 
things are under glass or guarded by railings, and may not 



158 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

be touched. The richest treasures are the Gobelin tapestries, 
the colorings of which are beyond description. I should like 
to buy an inch. There are people who are allowed to copy 
the pictures in the Louvre, and sell the copies right there. 
One lady was making lovely miniatures. 

My guide took me for lunch to the most interesting little 
French restaurant where the workers from offices and banks 
and stores eat. At the table next mine were two lovely girls 
who reminded me of all my dear, dear bunch at home. I 
spoke to them, and found that one was Italian, from lovely 
Genoa. 

Today it is Sunday, and it rains. This morning we went 
to the famous American Church of Paris. It is very large, and 
I had understood very much a social center, though no one hap- 
pened to speak to us. Tomorrow is my last day in "La Belle 
Paris." Ah, will I ever see it again? It is so that I felt about 
Berlin, and Munich, and Florence, and Genoa, and Rome. 
And now for Merry England. 



English-Speaking Union, 
37 Charles St., Berkley Square, 
London, England. 
July 1, 1927 

At last, I have reached the land of promise, the land of the 
daily bath without extra charge, the land of grape fruit for 
breakfast, and of toast and roast and matchless tea; land of 
fresh towels and spotless linen, of eager little page boys ever 
at hand to help; land where my mother tongue is spoken by 
my chamber maid far more beautifully than I can hope to 
speak it myself. Merry old England! I reached this goodly 
heritage of the Saxon race, exactly as the birds reached the 
Northland in the early Spring, namely, on wings; great, white 
wings which bore me more than three thousand feet above the 
earth and flew through space as swiftly and as securely as do 
the wings of robin or thrush. A miracle? Yes, a miracle 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 159 

of the genius of man and the power of God. I think my 
friends thought that I had parted with the small amount 
of 'gray matter" with which I was originally endowed, when 
I decided to come to London by air. However, this was the 
viewpoint only of my American friends. Here, they do it 
so constantly that it scarcely gives them a thrill. 

Monday in Paris was a rainy day. In the morning I went 
to my dress-making shop and finally disposed of the task of 
fitting my dresses. Then we attempted to see the Bastille, but, 
like everything else in Paris, it was closed on Monday. We 
were so sorry that we had not gone before. I lunched for the 
last time at the little tea room which has been such a pleasure, 
tried to shop a little, but Paris in the rain is about as difficult 
as any spot on earth under like conditions. In the evening, 
we went to our dear restaurant and said good-bye to the friends 
who had made us so much at home. Mrs. Goubert, wife 
of the proprietor, had secured for us tickets to the little English 
theatre. This theatre is devoted to the presentation of art 
plays. Our own Mr. Herrick is one of its most ardent sup- 
porters. The theatre is very small, and I suppose the prices 
must be proportionately large. At any rate, I had attempted 
to buy tickets and given it up because they were so expensive. 
The manager takes his meals at the Goubert restaurant, and 
through him our kind hostess procured tickets for us. The 
play of the evening was 'The Fanatics." It was a most inter- 
esting presentation of the viewpoint of the young men who 
have returned from the war to find most things wrong about 
our present-day life and philosophy, and who, in an effort 
to evolve what shall seem to them a workable scheme of 
things, have swung very far to the other extreme and wish to 
destroy all existing institutions. The play was strong and was 
presented exceedingly well, but like so many present-day 
dramas, or at least, so it seems to me, it fell down hopelessly 
in the last act, and utterly failed either to carry conviction 
or to maintain interest. 

My girlies left very early next morning, and I said good- 
bye to them with sharp regret and a sense of loneliness. 



160 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

A special bus takes passengers from Hotel Eduard Sept 
to the Paris Airdrome. We began our flight about twelve 
on Tuesday morning. Everyone else was weighed before we 
left. I do not know whether they thought me too insignificant 
to count; at any rate, they did not weigh me. There were 
eighteen passengers on the plane, some of whom seemed to 
be much disturbed by the motion. To me the whole experience 
was a delight. I felt as if I were floating through space to 
join my dear mother. Some of the time we were thirty-five 
hundred feet above this tiny ball which we call the world. 
Crossing the channel, the sun shone brightly through the win- 
dows, but we could not see the water for the cloud-fabric which 
lay below us and upon which we seemed to be riding as upon a 
gray stretch of road-way. We reached London, or rather the 
Croydon Airdrome, about half-past two, having made the trip 
from Paris to London in less than three hours. 

When I stepped from the plane, a kindly person who in- 
troduced herself as the stewardess took me in charge. When 
we came to the claiming of my baggage, I discovered that my 
beloved typewriter was not to be found. Now I guard that 
typewriter with my life, and never allow it to leave my hand. 
But my guide in Paris seemed rather to resent my feeling that 
this was necessary, and insisted on looking after it herself. 
It was many days before any trace of it could be found. The 
sequel proved that it had never left my hotel in Paris, where 
it was finally traced and sent to me. This was the only fly 
in the ointment on that memorable day, but I suppose one 
must not expect too much. 

I came directly from the hotel which is the air station in 
London, to the English-speaking Union. I learned of this 
most delightful club through my physician and friend, Dr. 
Metzenbaum of Cleveland, who is at the moment in Paris. 
He told me how much he and his family had enjoyed their 
sojourn here. Although it is really a club, I was not required 
to take a membership to stay for a short time. I found on 
arrival, not only that they had reserved a room for me but 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 161 

that one of the young ladies in the office had interested her- 
self to secure a guide. That very evening the lady called 
upon me. I found her a delightful Englishwoman. She is 
proving a kindly and efficient guide as well as a gentle and 
helpful friend. The first evening at dinner, I disgraced my- 
self by eating much more than any proper and delicate maiden 
lady should be guilty of consuming. The food really is ex- 
actly like what we have at home. Near me, at a neighboring 
table, were some lovely, cultured people, an English canon 
and his wife and their hostess, a charming American lady. I 
could not help over-hearing some of the conversation, and I 
must confess that I did not try very hard, for it was extremely 
interesting. The canon told a lovely story which I hope he 
will forgive me if I purloin. He said that a little lad, the 
son of a bishop, had been taken by his father to the 200. After 
gazing with rapt attention for many minutes at the hippo- 
potamus, he said, reflectively, "Father, I have looked at this 
hippopotamus for a very long time, and I do not believe that 
he is much interested in God." I wonder if there are not 
times when I convey the same unfortunate impression to people 
who watch me too closely. 

London so cast its spell upon me that on Wednesday morn- 
ing I went to the American Express and changed my sailing 
from July 9th on the "Carmania" to July 16th on the "Aurania." 
In the afternoon, we visited the Wallace art collection. It 
was begun by Sir Richard Wallace (1800-1870) and enriched 
by succeeding generations of the family and finally given by 
Lady Wallace to the nation. It is a collection of paintings and 
sculpture. The pictures represent largely French art, although 
there is a room of Italian and Flemish masters wherein I met 
my old friends Rembrandt and Van Dyck, as well as some 
of my beloved Italian masters. There are also pictures by 
English artists, notably Reynolds and Landseer. I suppose 
the latter is not one of the greatest, but a picture of his which 
he calls "Crumbs from a Rich Man's Table" made to me a 
great appeal. It portrayed a beautiful Saint Bernard dog with 



162 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

canine aristocracy in every line, even to his collar. He was 
gnawing a bone, rich and luscious, and, standing near, watch- 
ing with hungry eyes, was a wretched little mongrel. 

Here, as in the Louvre, I was greatly handicapped by my 
ignorance of French art. I am told that the Wallace collec- 
tion, though not the largest, is one of the finest of this school. 
It has a remarkable collection of furniture, especially clocks. 
There are clocks of every design, representing every variety 
of workmanship. There is also a fine collection of minia- 
tures, but I loved the clocks best of all. 

On Thursday morning, we walked in the Strand, saw old 
King's College with its historic buildings clustered round a 
court. We were trying to decide what we should do for the 
afternoon, when, suddenly, we came upon the Strand Theatre. 
Outside, it proclaimed the fact that this was matinee day, and 
they were presenting the "Spook Sonata." Now a play with 
so ghostly a title would, I felt sure, at least be something out 
of the ordinary. We found it easy to procure tickets, as the 
play is new. We had a lovely lunch, walked down to the 
Thames, and watched the boats that darted in and out. It 
all gave me a marvelous thrill. I am afraid my enthusiasm 
seems a bit childish to my guide, with her native English re- 
serve, but she is very patient. The play began at two-thirty. 
It lived up to its name in the matter of spookiness. It was 
a weird conception by the Scandinavian, Strindberg. It held 
your interest every moment through the first two acts, but 
here, again, the last act, to my mind, failed to be convincing 
although the actors gave it every opportunity to be so. Per- 
haps the critics will not agree with me. After the play we 
went for a rented typewriter, which, I am sure, was the first 
that the Corona Company ever made. I have failed to men- 
tion the fact that it rains. Did you ever read a statement to 
that effect in these pages before? I hope that after I and my 
hoodoo have left Europe, they may have some sort of respect- 
able weather. 

Armed with umbrellas, we started on Friday morning for 
the Tate Gallery. On our way, we passed the famous old 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 163 

church, "Saint Martin in the Fields." I do not know Saint 
Martin, and must learn his story. The presiding genius at 
present is one whose likeness to his master all men know. 
He is known as "Dicky Shepherd," and the humble folk of 
London adore him. The church has a large stone portico with 
a facade of columns. It is surrounded by an iron fence, but 
Mr. Shepherd insists that the gate be left open every night, 
and in the crypt of the church on any evening, you can see 
the pitiful spectacle of poor creatures, both men and women, 
lying on the hard stone, wrapped in whatever poor covering 
they may possess. They sleep there when they can pay for 
no other spot. The church is very old, and has the high-backed, 
carved seats with the book rests on the top. The pulpit is 
very high, almost on a level with the gallery, which also has 
seats. Naturally, the English churches are utterly different 
from those of Italy or France. Being Protestant, they are with- 
out the crucifix, and the many other external symbols of wor- 
ship. They have simplicity and dignity which greatly appeals 
to me, though perhaps not the artistic beauty. 

The Tate Gallery, like the Wallace collection, is a monu- 
ment to the artistic taste and the generosity of an old English 
family. It is perhaps richer in treasures of art than the 
Wallace collection, but many of these have been added since 
it was given to the nation. It represents largely the works of 
English artists, and has a wonderful collection of both Watts 
and Sargent. For me, however, the greatest appeal was made 
by the Turner rooms. However wide may be the difference 
of opinion among the initiated regarding this artist, as his 
works are described to me they possess a marvelous lure. The 
coloring, the delicacy, above all, the power of subtle suggestion 
with which they intrigue the imagination, seem to set them 
apart in a class quite their own. 

This afternoon, we went to St. Dunstan's, the institution 
for blinded soldiers. Ah, cruel it seems to me, these splendid 
fellows, so young, so vital, doomed to walk in darkness through 
a long life. And for what? Who is the better, or what 
country is more content, for all this dreadful sacrifice of the 



164 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

youth and beauty of the world? Will the rulers of men go 
on demanding this supreme sacrifice, simply that their glory 
may be enhanced? Will the law of love never supersede the 
lust of power and greed of possession? St. Dunstan's, or St. 
John's Lodge, as it is now called, has done a wonderful piece of 
work, and a large majority of the men whom they undertook to 
prepare for life under these altered conditions have gone out 
to their homes, and are working with a greater or less degree 
of success to support themselves and their families. Some have 
even been able to return to the professions and occupations 
which were theirs before the war. St. John's Lodge is in the 
beautiful Regent's Park. Today the society for providing 
" sunshine" homes for blind babies was having a sort of 
garden party in the park. We went over and took tea there, 
and for once there were three hours when it did not rain. 

On Sunday morning we went to the Metropolitan Taber- 
nacle, that great and popular church where Charles Spurgeon 
used to preach. That I chose this rather than St. Paul's or 
Westminster Abbey was solely due to the fact that I knew my 
father would have wished it because of his great admiration 
for Spurgeon, whom he probably now knows personally 
although they never met on earth. The Tabernacle holds six 
thousand persons. It was not full, but there was a fair-sized 
congregation. The minister, though doubtless a good man, 
is certainly no successor to the great Spurgeon. 

When we came back, we stopped at Piccadilly Circus, 
which means what we call circle. I get a marvelous thrill 
every time I walk on Piccadilly, the Piccadilly of Dickens and 
Thackeray and George Eliot. We lunched at one of the famous 
Lyons restaurants, of which there are many in London — 
popular prices and a lovely orchestra. After lunch, we took 
a bus and went out to Hampton Court. 

This palace was built by Cardinal Wolsey for his own 
residence, but he gave it — under pressure — to Henry Eighth, 
that vigorous monarch who either got what he wanted from 
people or took off their heads. Henry lived in this palace with 
all his hapless wives. At present a large part of it is devoted 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 165 

to a sort of "Old People's Home" for impecunious persons 
of very high rank. I am sure that these aristocratic residents 
must hate the throngs who invade their precincts, especially 
on Sunday. In fact, Sunday is a very poor day to visit the 
palace, or, for that matter, any other public place of interest. 
It is a free day, and the crowds are very great. But my time 
is so limited that I felt that I must do something on that day. 

The palace contains one thousand rooms, four-fifths of 
which are occupied by the royal pensioners. Of the remaining, 
comparatively few rooms are open to the public. To see the 
great kitchen and wine cellars, a special ticket must be pur- 
chased, but it was worth while. Six men could easily stand 
in the great fireplace. It was easy to conceive how the "Yule 
Log" burned for twelve days and twelve nights in this enor- 
mous stone cavity, easy also to imagine roasting an ox over its 
flame. There were six covered braziers on which great copper 
caldrons could stand, and the caldrons themselves were there. 
The gravy spoon was as big as a garden rake, though it had 
been used until it was very light in weight. There was also 
the oven made of great stones, in which the bread was baked, 
and a smaller fireplace over which the pots could hang on 
cranes. In the wine cellars were the pieces of wood on which 
the casks had stood, now almost turned to stone. The cooks 
must all have been men. Women could never have handled 
these great utensils. 

Above, in the great hall where Henry Eighth held his 
court, are eight beautiful pieces of tapestry representing the 
life of Abraham. Many of the pictures were collected by 
Henry Eighth; notable among these are the "Hampton Court 
Beauties" by Kneller and the "Windsor Ladies" by Lely. The 
latter are marvelous portraits of these royal ladies. Among 
the tapestries are some copies of the famous Rafael cartoons. 
The English palaces differ from those which I saw in Germany 
in that the rooms are not kept furnished. The furniture is dis- 
played in certain rooms, but many of the chambers are almost 
bare, and they do not reproduce the vivid impression of being 
still inhabited which Potsdam and Schonbrunn gave. The gar- 



166 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

den at Hampton Court is very beautiful, and here the illusion 
is far more potent. One can easily fancy little Anne Boleyn 
wandering among the flowers as a child, when she was waiting- 
maid to Henry's sister Marie, and when, as yet, no shadow of 
her tragic doom had touched her. On the whole, I loved the 
Hampton Court garden almost better than the palace itself. 

On Monday morning, I went with a party from the English- 
speaking Union to Westminster Abbey. Of this historic spot 
I feel utterly incapable of writing. For one thing, a party of 
impatient young people who wish to see it all in two hours 
is not conducive to the creation of that dreamy, poet-haunted 
atmosphere which should belong to Westminster. Also, it was 
the day when the school children were admitted, and it was 
crowded and a bit hectic. I shall try to go again with a per- 
sonal guide. True, I stood on the graves of Charles Dickens, 
of Gray, of Robert Browning, who lies here pathetically alone, 
Elizabeth being buried in Florence. This seems to me, some- 
how unfitting. Wordsworth, too, was there, and Milton; and 
these monarchs of the realm of the spirit interested me more 
than did the material rulers whose resting places are marked 
by chapels and statues and insignia of royal state. To me, the 
famous wax works were almost grotesque. These are 
effigies in wax of the kings. They were carried before the 
coffin at the funeral in order that all the common people who 
could not read should know who was being buried. 

The organists and musicians who have officiated at 
Westminster in successive generations are buried near the 
organ in a spot all their own. There, one saw such names as 
Purcell, Clementi, and others. To me, the grave of the un- 
known soldier in Westminster, with its long inscription, is less 
beautiful and impressive than that in Paris, where he rests 
under the beautiful 'Arc de Triomphe" with God's open sky 
above and lovely flowers which are always being placed upon it. 
I shall not be content until I have seen Westminster again 
under rather different conditions. 

The choir of Westminster gave a Handel concert on Mon- 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 167 

day evening. I was much disappointed that I did not know 
of it until Monday morning. We had bought tickets to see 
Sir Martin Harvey, in the "Burgomaster of Stilmonde," and 
it was impossible to exchange them. Sir Martin Harvey seems 
to be considered by many as one of the greatest actors in Eng- 
land. I went with high expectations, and so far as native 
endowment and perfection of technic are concerned, I was 
not disappointed. But to me it seemed little short of tragic 
that such high talent should lend itself to such unworthy pur- 
pose. The "Burgomaster of Stilmonde," although by no less 
a master than Maeterlinck, is one of the most rabid of those 
creations to which the war gave birth. Its every line breathes 
that spirit of hate, of resentment and exaggerated nationalism, 
which is at the root of all war. It tends to fan anew the flame 
of that fire which has so recently seared and devastated the 
world. Has England, then, such a dearth of dramatists that 
it can find nothing better or more opportune to proffer a 
London public than an out-worn war play? That this public 
accept and applaud amazed me. That they would not do so 
if it were presented to them by an artist less really great than 
Sir Martin Harvey, I like to believe. 

Tuesday morning, I went alone to the British Museum. 
That is, a messenger boy came and took me. I had previously 
arranged to have one of the regular Museum guides. I cer- 
tainly had a marvelous one. His name, by the way, is 
"Carnie," and he certainly knows that vast collection in every 
detail. For three hours and more, he patiently explained to me 
everything. He had previously secured for me a permit to 
touch everything not encased. This, it seems, is a privilege 
which has almost never been granted to any one. I appreciate 
it proportionately. Among the many statues in the first large 
hall, a series of the Caesars in chronological order, interested 
me very much. Nero had the most cruel mouth and a very 
weak chin. Augustus had, to my touch, a beautiful, strong 
face, with a nice straight Roman nose. Among the Greek 
statues, naturally the "Venus de Milo" interested me most. 



168 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

There was a statue called, "The Boy with a Thorn in his Foot," 
which is so life-like that one wishes to help him remove the 
thorn. 

Among the collections of jewels, the "Rothschild" collec- 
tion is, I suppose, the richest. There are diamonds, one of 
which would ensure me freedom from want for the rest of 
my life. In one of these collections there is something which 
contains every one of the precious and semi-precious stones 
mentioned in the Book of Revelations, some of which I had 
imagined no longer existed. To me, strangely enough, the 
manuscript room was most fascinating. There were manu- 
scripts from Chaucer, Milton, etc. There was a manuscript of 
Gray's "Elegy," letters written by queens and kings and gen- 
erals. Among the ancient manuscripts is a Chinese dictionary 
which occupied more space than my entire library. My guide 
explained to me as well as he could, considering my limited 
intelligence, something of how the philologists have discovered 
the keys by which they have deciphered the hieroglyphics on 
ancient Egyptian, Syrian, and South American tablets and 
tombs. It is marvelous to me, how, by comparing the way a 
certain sign or letter is made on one of these, they finally arrive, 
a letter at a time, or even a curve at a time, at the meaning of 
the writing. I suppose every one except myself has known 
that the Greeks wrote in three ways: left to right, right to left, 
and in a zigzag vertical, which is called "the horse and plough" 
writing because it looks about like the way a horse makes a 
furrow with a plough. Among the more modern manuscripts, 
the one which naturally interested me most was that of the 
Beethoven Ninth Symphony, with the composer's own nota- 
tions and his signature. It was the only musical manuscript we 
could find. I suppose the most remarkable thing in the British 
Museum is the department of Egyptian and Syrian antiquities. 
These occupy room after room and include tablets, statues, 
columns, tombs, and every conceivable thing. There was one 
bas-relief of all the things these ancient ladies used for their 
toilet. It included mirrors of various sizes, a little knife for 
the cuticle, soap boxes which stood open with the cake of soap 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 169 

inside, and which were, for all the world, in shape and style, 
like mine. There was even a hairpin. So do not flatter your- 
self that you have anything over your Egyptian cousins of 
remote times. 

But of all the marvels in this wonder palace, the thing 
which fascinated me most and to which I begged my guide to 
take me back again and yet again was the great Strassburg 
astronomical clock. It was this clock which a few days ago 
recorded the eclipse with absolute accuracy. It was made by one 
Isaac Habrecht, a German, for one of the Popes in 1587. It was 
for two hundred years in the Vatican. Then it was removed 
to the British Museum, where it has been for a long time. But 
since it came to England, every clockmaker in London and many 
in other parts of the world have tried in vain to make it go. 
It baffled all the experts. Two years ago, the British Museum 
locksmith not only made it go, but put every detail of its com- 
plex and marvelous mechanism into perfect working order. 
To him, from that moment, was entrusted the sole care of the 
clock. Once each day, at high noon, he winds and looks after 
it. No one else may touch it. It is his child, and he loves it 
with passionate devotion. So modest is he that he will not 
permit the guides to point him out as the man who finally suc- 
ceeded in making it go. We went back to the clock at noon. 
When I said something complimentary about the man who 
had been so clever as to solve the mystery, the custodian merely 
said, "Yes." It was not until afterward that I knew that he 
was the man. He allowed me to put my fingers on everything 
which it is possible to touch with any sort of safety to the 
mechanism. I saw "Old Father Time" with the hour glass, the 
wonderful revolution of the sun and the moon, even the great 
weights which control the working. The clock has everything 
imaginable, tiny figures representing hours, days, and years, 
the earth, the sun, and the moon in correct position, figures 
representing the seasons. At noon, after it has struck, there is 
a moment of silence; then tiny bells ring, and a tiny cock 
comes out, spreads his wings, and crows. Somehow, the won- 
der of this clock thrilled me more than all the antiquities. But 



170 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

perhaps that is because clocks are a mania with me. I have 
been sorely tempted to buy one of those with the Westminster 
chimes, of which there are so many in all the London shops. 

I also saw the famous "Rosetta Stone." It is so immense 
that it is impossible to conceive how they ever brought it from 
the Nile. On one side a piece is broken out. Otherwise, it 
would be quite regular in shape. One thing which impressed 
me about the ancient peoples was that they worshiped every- 
thing, from the sun to their own bodies. The symbols of 
their worship were seldom beautiful, like those of the Greeks, 
but often grotesque and hideous. For the first time, I begin 
to comprehend how supremely difficult it must have been for 
the leaders of the Jewish people to hold them to the idea of 
one spiritual God, surrounded as they were by all this worship 
of the material. The marvel is that, in the midst of all this 
degradation of thought and life, any man should have had 
the spiritual vision to write, "The Heavens declare the glory of 
God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork." 

At the English-speaking Union, the table d'hote dinner is 
served from seven to nine, at which witching hour, it ceases 
to be a dinner and becomes supper. Then you can order any- 
thing you like. I love supper, and have taken to waiting until 
nine o'clock. The head waiter, a nice, kind old gentleman who 
is most proud of the fact that he was at one time in America, 
always serves me himself. He not infrequently tells me what 
to eat and brings it without further ado. Tonight he said, 
"Now I have prunes for your dessert." Now I am usually 
most obedient, but tonight prunes decidedly did not appeal 
to me. When I demanded ice cream, instead, the truth came 
out. Both the ice cream and the strawberries were gone. "Oh, 
well," I said, "never mind. I will take my coffee without 
dessert." Whereupon, in exactly the wheedling tone he would 
employ to a naughty child, my guardian said, "But you see, I 
have whipped cream with them. Now I know you will try?" 
I yielded at once, and when he brought them to me, bathed in 
rich cream and with all the stones carefully removed, I was 
forced to admit the wisdom of being a good, obedient child. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 171 

On Wednesday morning, we went to St. Paul's. The 
present building is at least the third to occupy this site. 
Indeed, ancient records seem to show that a temple to Diana 
may have stood on this spot. In the seventh century, Ethel- 
bert, king of Kent, built what for those days must have been 
a magnificent structure. He endowed this with the Manor 
of Tillingham in Essex. This Manor still belongs to the dean 
and chapter of St. Paul's, and is probably the oldest tenure 
in all England. 

This structure was destroyed by fire in a.d. 1067, and its 
successor was two centuries in building. It is still spoken 
of as "Old St. Paul's." In the later days this church was 
much abused. In its nave, Oliver Cromwell stabled his horses. 
Tentative plans for its rebuilding were crystallized after the 
fire of 1666, which destroyed almost all London. The design 
of the new structure was the work of Sir Christopher Wren, 
and its achievement was the crowning glory of his life. Begun 
in 1675, it was opened for service in 1697 and completed in 
1710. Unlike so many great artists, Sir Christopher lived to 
see the fulfillment of his dream. When he became very feeble, 
he used to insist on being carried once a year to view the work 
of which he was so justly proud. But it would seem that dis- 
honesty among contractors is nothing new. Instead of the 
solid stone pillars which Sir Christopher Wren supposed were 
supporting the immense dome, there were columns faced with 
ashlar and filled with rubble. It has become absolutely neces- 
sary to replace these, and at the present, the sacred hush of 
St. Paul's is violated by the clamor of some thirty-five great 
drills, and the workmen swarm everywhere. 

Many portions of the building are wholly shut off from 
visitors. But when one reflects that if this were not so, the 
great dome might sometime fall, perhaps killing hundreds of 
persons, one is quite resigned to the inevitable. 

St. Paul's is in the form of a Latin cross, and in design 
bears a marked resemblance to St. Peter's in Rome, but here 
the likeness ceases. The decorations and chapels did not seem 
to me as beautiful. Twenty-two steps lead up to the church. 



172 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

In the vestibule is Holman Hunt's picture, "The Light of the 
World." The ceiling of the dome presents eight paintings 
by Thornhill, illustrating the life of St. Paul, but the dome 
is so high that these can be seen to advantage only from the 
"Whispering Gallery." This gallery, named from its peculiar 
acoustics, is much more than half way to the top of the dome. 
If you place one ear to the wall, you can hear the slightest 
whisper from the opposite side. The dome is flanked on each 
side by quarter domes. To me this is one of the marked char- 
acteristics of the architecture of St. Paul's. 

In the crypt, which is at least in part old St. Paul's, is the 
"Painter's Corner." Here lie Sir Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin 
West, Sir James Lawrence, Henry Turner, Holman Hunt, and 
of course, Sir Christopher Wren. His grave has no monu- 
ment. It is marked by a simple tablet which reads: "Reader, if 
thou seekest his monument, look about thee." This simple 
inscription, which is unfortunately written in Latin, seems a 
beautiful and adequate tribute. There is also in the crypt a 
lovely monument to Florence Nightingale, who eased the 
dying hours of so many soldiers. I would rather have been she 
than Lord Nelson, who commanded them to battle. 

We had intended going to Windsor on Thursday morn- 
ing, but it rained. On Thursday afternoon, we went back to 
St. Paul's to hear the four o'clock service. This I did in hope 
of hearing a really fine boys' choir. I was utterly disappointed. 
To be sure, not all the choir was present, but if they had been 
it does not seem to me that it could have been wonderful. I 
must confess that I have been everywhere disappointed in the 
church music which I have heard in Europe. Not once have 
I heard a choir which for a moment compares with the Men- 
delssohn Choir, or even with that of St. John's the Divine in 
New York. 

On our way to St. Paul's, we passed a small church whose 
very existence my guide had not known. We wandered in 
and were rewarded by a view of one of the most exquisite 
little temples which I have seen in all Europe. It is called 
"St. Lawrence Jewry," because this used to be a Jewish neigh- 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 173 

borhood. The inside of the church is all wood most exquisitely 
carved. Fluted columns support a simple dome. Carved 
altars and seats are everywhere. One of the doors is as fine 
a specimen of wood-carving as I saw even in Germany, the 
land of wood-carvers. The church dates back to 1259, and is 
the corporation church of London. Here the Lord Mayor 
comes just before he takes his oath of office. The lady in 
charge was very kind to me. I sat, not only in the Lord 
Mayor's chair, but also in that used by Charles First, when he 
rededicated this church after it was rebuilt. I must confess that 
I did not in the least feel like a Lord Mayor of London, far 
less a king of England. 

Thursday was my guide's last day with me. She was leav- 
ing London in a few days, and found it impossible to give me 
any more time. 

On Friday morning, I found myself faced with the neces- 
sity of finding a new guide and also of hunting a room. The 
English-speaking Union, as a rule, keeps one person no more 
than a week. This is, of course, in order to make it possible 
that all their members should be able to enjoy their privileges. 
I am not a member, and they have already extended my time 
several days, so that I could ask no more favors. The prob- 
lem of seeking a hotel without a guide loomed a bit large 
until I suddenly remembered that wonderful institution, "The 
London Messenger Service." I do assure you there is nothing 
like it. I could go all over London in absolute safety with 
those little fellows. I believe they could be trusted with any- 
thing; I know they can with your life, and what those little 
boys do not know is not worth the trouble of knowing. With 
my small guide, I sought Cook's. They tell me that London 
has never been so crowded with tourists. Even Cook's, with 
all their resources, found it most difficult to find a hotel for 
me. At last they secured a room at this hotel, which is called 
The National. It is very ordinary; also I suppose for me it 
suffers much by comparison with the English-speaking Union, 
which is so marvelous. However, it answers the purpose. In 
the matter of finding a guide, I was more fortunate. Miss 



174 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Wren, the secretary of the Union, knew a young lady who 
she thought might be willing to assume the responsibility of 
me for a few days. She therefore found for me, in many ways 
the most wonderful little comrade I have had in all my wander- 
ings. She is a trained nurse, but oh, such a young one. Her 
queer little name is Owie Hunter, and she comes from the 
far land of Australia. If they have any more like her, I want 
to go there. She is small, but she can certainly move anything 
on earth which stands between her and what she wishes to 
accomplish. She has, incidentally, the most beautiful eyes, 
and I am sure that she owes to these some of her power to 
work her will with every one. She most unselfishly hastened 
a pleasant lunch party and came to help me move on Friday 
afternoon. 

On Friday evening, we went to dine at my favorite Lyons. 
At this particular Lyons, the orchestra is lovely. It reminds me 
of my favorite Renascente in Milan. It is always crowded, 
and this evening was no exception. We were obliged to ask 
permission to sit at a table already occupied by two young 
ladies. I cannot recall just how we entered into conversation, 
but it led to an acquaintance which I shall cherish all my life. 
These young English girls were exactly the type which most 
appeals to me because they are just like my own dear bunch, 
capable, self-reliant, intelligent young women, occupying posi- 
tions as secretaries and filling them perfectly, I am sure. Like 
so many others over here, one of them carries in her heart 
a double wound dealt by the war, which took from her both 
her brother and her lover. She wears her hurt with that fine 
dignity which makes of it a "Cross of Honor" more noble 
than any king can confer. To have been in her presence for 
an hour is a thing to cherish for a lifetime. 

On Saturday morning we went to the Kingsway Theatre, 
to buy tickets for "Mariegold," a play which, some one had 
told me, was not war and not a sex problem. The theatre is 
small, and we were fortunate in being able to secure tickets. 
We spent the rest of the morning in the National Gallery. 
Here every great artist, Italian, Flemish, Dutch, greeted me 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 175 

anew, to say nothing of the English and French artists whom 
I know less, but must learn to understand. When we reached 
the Titian room, a party from the University Travel Bureau 
had gathered to listen to a lecture by Professor Fanning. We 
ventured to add ourselves to the group, and I learned more 
in a quarter of an hour than I had ever known or dreamed, not 
only about Titian, but also about all my beloved Italian 
masters, from Perugino to Rafael. I learned one thing which 
I shall never forget, namely, that Venetian art really should 
be seen in Venice, in its native environment with that peculiar 
atmosphere, and beneath that matchless Italian sky which gave 
it birth. After the lecture was over, I went to Professor Fan- 
ning and confessed my theft. He was most gracious, and 
asked us to come to the next lecture on Monday morning. I 
regret that I cannot avail myself of the privilege. One thing 
I have resolved: I am coming over next time with the Uni- 
versity Travel Bureau. Heaven grant there may be a next 
time. 

In the afternoon, we went to London Tower. It was a 
rash thing to do on a Saturday, and the crowds were so dense 
that, with a guide less capable, I might have regretted it. As 
it was, between Miss Hunter, and a fine, big "Beef Eater," 
as the Tower guards are called, I got on beautifully. The 
Beef Eaters were a guild formed centuries ago, I think during 
the Crusades. London Tower was built originally as a for- 
tress, and must have been almost impregnable. Perhaps we 
think of it far more as a prison wherein perished so many of 
England's noblest blood, including the two little princes whom 
we have always supposed to have been killed by Richard the 
Third (though an English gentleman tells me that recently 
this has been thought to be a slander on Richard) , Lady Jane 
Gray and her noble husband, and Sir Walter Raleigh. Time 
would fail to enumerate them. The tiny chapel where they 
are buried and where many of them received the sacrament on 
the last night of their lives, is well spoken of as "the saddest 
spot on earth." 

In the Jewel Tower are kept all the royal jewels, including 



176 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

the crowns of the king and queen, worn each year when they 
open parliament. The coronation crowns with their priceless 
diamonds are also here. That of the King's crown was origi- 
nally the largest diamond of the world, weighing some five 
hundred and fifty carats. It has now been cut, and a part of 
it is in a pedant which the queen wears. Nowhere can one 
behold such an array of glittering gems, but all their glory 
cannot lift the shadows which hang over London Tower. 

I wanted to see the peculiar costume and cap worn by the 
Beef Eaters, and one of them kindly submitted to being 
touched. It is a marvelous creation of red and gold but it 
looked hot and uncomfortable. 

In spite of the crowds, one of these big men carefully 
guided us round the Jewel Tower, and told me every detail 
about the display. The only thing which I failed to see was 
the tower wherein Sir Walter Raleigh passed so many weary 
years. The crowds were so dense that we gave it up. 

After London Tower, we needed the delightful contrast 
which "Mariegold" supplied. A more charming little play 
I have never seen. It deals with the early Victorian period, 
and the scene is laid in Scotland. The cast was splendid, and 
the Scotch dialect was delightful. 

The National Gallery, London Tower, and "Mariegold" 
made a rather large day. 

There is one thing which this hotel can claim, namely, a 
very good little orchestra. If this narrative is becoming a bit 
incoherent, the blame is theirs. They have just been playing 
"Tannhauser," and doing it well. So how can I be expected to 
write ? 

Sunday morning, both Miss Hunter and I had sense enough 
to rest. We met after lunch, going first to the Temple 
Church. This unique house of worship is in the very heart of 
that historic structure, or rather collection of buildings, known 
as "The Temples." They had their inception in the dream 
of twelve knights of the Crusade who, returning from the 
Holy Land, dreamed of creating a civilization in which law 
and religion should walk hand in hand. They called them- 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 177 

selves "Knights Templars," and while, perhaps, their dream 
was never realized, still they certainly exercised a great in- 
fluence upon both the political and the religious life of 
England during the centuries immediately following the Cru- 
sades. The Temple is the only round church in London. 
Within it are the tombs of these Crusaders, with a statue upon 
each. These statues lie prone, and the position is supposed 
to indicate in how many Crusades the knight has fought. If 
only his feet are crossed, then he was in but one. If the 
limbs are crossed almost up to the knees, then he was in two 
or more of these wars. The one which I touched could claim 
the latter distinction. He had a strong face, and looked as 
if he might have intimidated more than one Saracen. The 
choir at the Temple Church really is as nearly an exception 
to what I have said about European church choirs as any which 
I have heard. The Temples are large buildings built around 
courts, with fountains and beautiful little plots of grass and 
flowers. They are entirely devoted to law offices, and in 
these many of the legal gentlemen live. Perhaps the most 
distinguished person who lies in the little Temple cemetery 
is Oliver Goldsmith. 

From the Temples we went to Hyde Park. I had passed 
this beautiful oasis in London's heart many times, but had 
not walked in it. It is too well known to need words of mine, 
but I must pay my tribute to the lovely statue of Peter Pan 
which is the shrine of so many childish hearts. The statue 
is the work of Sir George Frampton, friend of Barrie. It is 
an exquisite figure of Peter, with groups of fairies, each group 
different, and birds and snails and flowers all round his feet. 
The fairies are enchanting little creatures in every pose 
which it is possible to conceive a fairy as taking. Looking at 
this statue, even the most hardened skeptic must answer Maude 
Adams' invariable question, "Do you believe in fairies?" in the 
affirmative. When the statue was finally completed, Barrie 
begged that it might be set up over night so that the children 
would come and find it there the next morning. The kiddies 
actually believe that Peter sailed from his island in the Thames 



178 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

and landed on the shore just where they found him on that 
June morning. 

Six o'clock on this memorable Sunday found us at the 
Guild House. This wonderful spiritual and social center is 
widely known. Every one knows that its real genius, to whom 
it owes its unique and potent place in the life of London, 
is Miss Maude Royden. Every activity of Guild House, 
and they are legion, is inbreathed with the spirit of this mar- 
velous woman; a spirit at once so fearless and so tolerant, so 
dominating and so gentle, so profound and so simple, so 
vivid and so perfectly poised, that it seems almost beyond 
human attainment. Until you have felt the thrill and the 
power of her, you cannot know Maude Royden. She preached 
that evening, in reply to a letter she had received, on "How 
can the pacifist hope to stand aloof if there is another war?" 
One sentence in the letter read, "One might stand apart from 
one's country in the days of her prosperity, but not to share 
in her suffering, this is too terrible." Miss Royden said that 
she firmly believed that it was infinitely easier to be a soldier 
and die for one's country than to be a "conscientious objector." I 
have seldom seen any one who was so perfectly fair, so capable 
of seeing and understanding the viewpoint of every sort of 
person, as Miss Royden. She seems to possess a sort of sixth 
sense by which she can instantly grasp the reason behind the 
reason for what people feel and think. To have heard her once, 
is a liberal education and a spiritual uplift. It would seem to me 
that the mission of Guild House is to put life into the dry bones 
of ultraformalism. When we left Guild House, after having 
stayed for the open discussion after the service, Owie took 
me to her little flat and gave me coffee, and then I took a taxi 
to my hotel and called it a day. 

On Monday morning, we attended to some business which 
grew out of the fact that we had decided to take a three days' 
motor tour. I had registered for a Cook's Tour of Oxford 
and Stratford, and had deeply appreciated the fact that they 
were willing to take me. But after I learned that Owie drives 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 179 

a car and was willing to go with me, I felt that I could, perhaps, 
see more with a personal guide. 

On Monday afternoon, we went to Liberty's magnificent 
store. Nowhere in the world, I am sure, is there another just 
like it. On the top floor, they have a display of houses, fur- 
nished exactly as a house should be furnished. Each room 
is decorated as it should be for the particular type of house 
which it represents. You can see everything from the king's 
palace to the perfectly appointed tiny bungalow for the 
humblest ' newlyweds." Really, it is difficult to say which 
is the most fascinating and suggestive of happiness. On the 
whole, I think I would give the palm to the bungalow. It 
is so fascinating to see how much beauty and comfort can be 
achieved with comparatively little cost. Just by way of local 
color, we were caught in a storm on the way home, and liter- 
ally drenched. It failed, however, to dampen our ardor for 
our trip. Nor did the fact that the next morning dawned 
gray and forbidding disturb our serenity. 

We left London about ten o'clock on Tuesday morning, 
and thus began an experience which is the crown of all this 
wonderful year. Did I say year? Incredible it seems to me 
that this perfect experience should have been mine. It is a 
miracle great enough to make faith in all miracles easy. 

We stopped first at Eton, that historic school which has 
been the determining factor in the character of so many of 
England's greatest men. In the chapel is a memorial window 
to the 1157 Eton men whom the war took as its tragic toll. 
The window was designed by one of the Eton masters. There 
is also in the chapel a lovely Burne- Jones tapestry, and a pic- 
ture of Sir Galahad by Watts, given to Eton by the artist 
himself. He began this picture, and then, for some reason, 
threw it aside. Later, someone asked him to finish it. When 
it was completed, he gave it to Eton on condition that it should 
hang in the chapel. There is also a lovely carved screen by 
Grinling Gibbons. In one corner are some dreadfully narrow 
little seats, straight and most uncomfortable. These are for 



180 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

the younger boys and are known as "knife boards." The 
name is entirely appropriate. Heaven pity the poor youngsters 
who must occupy them during the chapel exercises! There 
is a great chair which the king occupies when he comes to 
inspect Eton. 

The upper school dates back to 1690 and the lower to 
1480. In every available spot, on walls, on stair balustrades, 
on the steps, are carved the names of the boys. At first they 
did this themselves, but now, in self-defense, the school au- 
thorities employ an expert to do this for each class as it 
graduates. Shelley's name was there, carved very badly by 
the poet's unskillful hand. William Pitt, Gladstone, and a 
multitude of others, evidenced the achievements in man-mak- 
ing of this wonderful institution. I learned at least one secret 
as to the method by which this has been accomplished. In 
one of the rooms stood a great block of wood rounded over 
the top. When we asked what it was for, the guide replied, 
"That is the caning block." "But," I exclaimed, "surely it is 
not used now?" The guide touched it, and remarked signifi- 
cantly, "It is still warm from having just been occupied." 
The hapless young sinner leans over the block on his stomach, 
and takes his birch oil from the rear. Moreover, the guide 
informed us that there is nothing between the birch and the 
boy. When I insisted that I considered this a relic of bar- 
barism, the guide pointed to some of the great names which 
were everywhere in evidence, and remarked: "Madame, does 
not the result seem to justify the method?" I was compelled 
to admit the truth of his claim. If our schools could produce 
as many great men as Eton has done, perhaps it would be 
worth while to test the method. Certainly I know some Amer- 
ican boys would not be the worse for the experience. 

From Eton we went to Windsor. The two are so close 
together that they seem almost like one town. From the ter- 
races of Windsor one can look over to the athletic fields of 
Eton where, someone has said, England has really won her 
battles. One enters Windsor Castle with a sense of awe and 
reverence for all the history for which it stands. This stately 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 181 

structure crowns a hill from whence it looks down upon Lon- 
don, and all the glory and shame, the poverty and wealth 
which constitute the life of this great city. Of course, we saw 
only the very small portion of the castle known as the "State 
Apartments." While the royal family live much of the time 
at Buckingham, still Windsor is one of their homes. They 
always go there during the festive sport season. In the stately 
halls of Windsor walk the personalities of Charles the First, 
Charles the Second, and Queen Victoria. Everywhere one sees 
the insignia of the Knights of the Garter, which guild was 
founded by Charles the First. Their motto, "Honi soit qui 
mal-y pense" (Evil is to him who evil thinks), can be seen 
carved on the walls and tablets. The Charles the First dining 
room has beautiful wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons. These 
show flowers, fruit, fish, etc. There are many beautiful por- 
traits by Van Dyck, who was the favorite of Charles First. 
Notable among these are several of Katherine of Braganza, 
Charles' queen. This famous lady of Portugal brought with 
her as a part of her dowry the City of Bombay, thus laying 
the foundation of British possessions in India. There is a 
Rubens room devoted almost entirely to works by this master. 
I wish that I knew of which king he was the favorite. We 
saw the bed chamber where royal guests sleep when the king 
entertains at Windsor. The great drawing room is in gold 
and white. Recently they have been redecorating the palace. 
When they came to this room, they had expected to be obliged 
to replace all the gold which had stood for a hundred years. 
But when it was washed, its color was undimmed and needed 
no restoration. In the Waterloo chamber is perhaps the largest 
seamless carpet in the world. It required seven years to make 
it. In the corners are the royal insignia. The long table 
in this room seats eighty persons. Here the king entertains 
his more personal guests. The room is also used as a royal 
theatre and has fine acoustical properties. 

The guard room, as it is called because it was so used 
when the queen had her apartments on this side of the castle, 
contains numberless banners of the battles of Blenheim and 



182 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

Waterloo. When we asked the reason why there were so 
many, the guide explained that, on a certain day each year 
the descendants of the Duke of Marlboro and the Duke of 
Wellington each bring to the king one of these flags. This 
represents all the rental which they pay for their vast estates. 
This tenure is, of course, in recognition of the service rendered 
by these generals in winning these great battles. It will hold 
as long as they have a male heir to inherit. At present, the 
real guard room is on the other side of the palace, and is not 
shown to visitors. But this summer, when the blinded soldiers 
from St. Dunstan's were in camp, they were invited to Wind- 
sor and were shown this room, which is ordinarily never open 
to visitors. 

Everybody has read of the "Queen's Doll House," but 
I doubt if it is possible for one to conceive it without seeing it. 
I always supposed that it was Windsor castle in miniature; 
instead, it is Buckingham Palace. It was given to the queen, 
and it represents literally years of labor. Since its construction, 
hundreds of people have sent her things for it. In fact, there 
are glass cases full of these tiny objects for which there is no 
room in the house itself. Every room in the palace is per- 
fectly reproduced, from the state drawing room to the baths 
with their tiny appointments, even including the cakes of soap, 
no larger than the end of your finger; the kitchen with its 
pots and pans and the pantry with its jars and dishes. The 
queen exhibits the doll house for the benefit of her pet chari- 
ties, of which she has many. If you have, like myself, had 
some sort of idea that King George and Queen Mary are not 
popular in England, dismiss it at once. From all that I heard, 
I am certain that these simple, sane, democratic sovereigns are 
as deeply beloved as they certainly richly deserve to be. 

From Windsor we went to Oxford. We stopped at a 
tiny village named Coin-brook, and went into an old inn 
which, I am sure, must have stood on that spot at least two 
hundred years. It looked ready to tumble down, but it is 
still a tavern. We passed quaint, adorable little villages with 
their half-timbered houses, and their tiny gardens — always the 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 183 

gardens, no matter how small the house, and always beauti- 
fully kept. We passed the famous village of Broadway, con- 
sidered perhaps the most beautiful in all England. All the 
sidewalks were grass, with flagstone paths leading down to 
the street from each house. Unlike all the other villages, it had 
not a single hedge or wall, to divide one little garden from 
the other. Everywhere else there were stone walls covered 
with thick hedges beautifully green and often in flower. 

We saw a signpost marked: 

MORETON IN THE MARSH 
BOURTON ON THE HlLL 

Stow in the Wold 

All these names were given in full. This was rural England 
for which I had so longed, and I loved it. 

It was after seven when we reached Oxford. Owie knew 
a lovely lady who took us in for the night. After we had 
washed up a bit, we went to old Christ Church College to 
hear the bell of old "Tom Tower" strike its one hundred and 
one strokes at nine o'clock. This is a tradition so binding 
as to amount to a law. The man who founded the college 
made this provision in his will. It is Oxford's curfew, and is 
unfailing. However, the old guard told us, that, a few nights 
before we were there, something had gone wrong with the 
clapper, and it stopped at 72. I asked what he did about it, 
and he replied, 'Took a hammer and struck the rest out of 
her." England's traditions are as inviolable as the laws of 
the Medes and Persians, and more sacred to the heart of the 
Englishman. Oxford has many shibboleths, the pronouncing 
or failing to pronounce which stamps you either as belonging 
to the elect or as hopelessly outside the sacred circle. High 
Street is always 'The High." Christ Church College is al- 
ways 'The House." Worcester is "Wagus." The martyr's 
memorial monument is "Magusmemoggus." The River 
Thames where it flows by Oxford is called "Isis." It resumes 
its name afterward. Into the Thames at this point, flows 



184 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

the Cherwell, pronounced by the English, "Charwell," on the 
same principle as they pronounce clerk, "Clark." The English 
seem to feel that we have a language quite our own, and 
utterly unworthy to be associated in any way with their king's 
variety. Their speech is, in fact, much more elegant and 
finished than ours, but some of its peculiarities, as for example, 
their way of pronouncing e like a, seem as strange to us as our 
clipped, inelegant speech seems to them. One gentleman told 
me that before he took his present position, they asked him 
if he could speak and understand "American." 

Of course, it is now the long vacation in Oxford, and the 
men are not there in any great number. On Wednesday morn- 
ing, we visited the beautiful garden of St. John's College. I 
have seldom, if ever, seen so lovely a spot with its roses and 
lavender and its tall trees. The rock garden is wonderful. 
It is made entirely of rocks, terraced, and covered with every 
kind of plant which will grow on rocks. It was the work 
of a man who died recently after serving St. John's for years 
as head gardener, and his memorial is there in the form of a 
tablet. The rock garden is in itself sufficient to give distinc- 
tion to St. John's. And oh, the birds! Every sort of singing, 
soaring bit of living color inhabits these English gardens. 

All the colleges have an outer court, then the cloister, some- 
times pillared and sometimes walled, and then the lovely gar- 
den. When the cloister is walled, it has openings for win- 
dows, but without the glass. We visited next Magdalene Col- 
lege, spelled as above but pronounced "Maudlin." This I do 
not in the least understand. It is not merely Oxford slang. It 
is the way in which the college is always spoken of everywhere 
in England. I tried but failed to learn a historic reason for 
this as well as for the name of Tom Tower. In Magdalene, 
we walked in what is known as "Addison's Walk," where he 
is said to have composed his earlier essays. We also visited 
Merton, the oldest college in Oxford. It has a wonderful 
library. I saw a book chained to the shelf as they always used 
to do. I wanted to see the famous "New College" but we felt 
that we must get on to Stratford. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 185 

How shall I worthily describe or fitly praise that most 
beautiful, most enthralling spot, "Stratford-on-Avon" ? Here, 
indeed, walks the stately spirit of noblest England. Here 
breathes the presence of her greatest bard, and here dwells 
her past in hallowed wedlock with her present. Standing in 
Anne Hathaway's little cottage, in which nothing has been 
altered since the days when she graced it with her fair presence, 
the past becomes present, and Shakespeare lives again, with 
all that group of noble geniuses, which made his time the 
crown of English letters. In Anne's cottage there is just one 
thing which is not the original, namely, a leather water-con- 
tainer shaped exactly like a pitcher. One enters the living 
room with its deep fireplace, beside which stands the ancient 
salt box, its brick oven with wooden doors inconceivably heavy, 
which our guide, a lady, by the way, and most charming, said 
is one of the only two with wooden doors left in all the British 
Isles. The bedroom where slept Anne's father and mother, 
with its high-post wooden bed which her father so prized 
that he made special mention of it in his will, the little room 
where Anne slept with her sister, even the tiny room occupied 
by the maid, all this is there with, somehow, its atmosphere 
unchanged by time. Anne's father, like the father of Shake- 
speare, was a man of means and consequence. Until about 
thirty years ago, the Hathaway family actually lived in this 
cottage, and when it was sold to the Shakespeare Memorial 
Society, they moved to another house in Stratford, where they 
still live. Shakespeare's family, on the contrary, was extinct 
within two generations after death, his grand-daughter Eliza- 
beth being the last of his house. In the Hathaway cottage 
there was a queer leather flask in which they carried their 
beer or wine when they took a lunch. It had a hole in one 
side, and when I asked about it, the guide explained that 
when the flask began to leak, the father cut out a piece so 
that all in the household would know that it must not be used. 
He used the piece to mend his boots, and the bottle they hung 
on the wall as a catcher for odds and ends. 

In walking back to Shakespeare's house, we passed the 



186 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

home of Marie Corelli. I somehow got the impression that 
Stratford was not specially proud of her. When we reached 
the Shakespeare home, there were such crowds of tourists that 
we decided to wait to see it until morning. The Shakespeare 
Festival was on at Stratford, and we bought tickets for "Mac- 
beth," which was the play for the evening. As you know, 
the Shakespeare Theatre has recently been burned, and Strat- 
ford is making a desperate effort to raise money to rebuild 
it. The ground has already been secured. It is to be, not on, 
but very near the site of the old theatre. The theatre which 
they are at present using is not large but serves fairly well. 
Imagine the thrill one feels in hearing a Shakespeare play in 
the very spot where it was written. The actors are chosen 
from the most promising graduates of the school at Oxford. 
The part of Macbeth was ably taken by a Mr. Walter, and 
that of Lady Macbeth by a Miss Green. She was exceedingly 
fine. If the performance lacks something of the experienced 
finesse which the standard set by Sothern and Marlowe has 
taught us to look for, it was certainly both vital and sincere 
and gave goodly promise that these great artists would some 
near day have worthy successors. 

Thursday morning, we rose betimes (you see, I am falling 
into Shakespearian period English) and betook ourselves to 
Shakespeare's house. The event justified our wisdom in having 
waited, for there was almost no one there, and the guides 
gave us their undivided attention. The house is surprisingly 
large, about sixteen rooms. Shakespeare's father was a well- 
to-do wool merchant and occupied at one time or another 
all the public offices in the gift of Stratford. His name is 
mentioned some sixty or more times in the records of the 
town. To me, the interest of the house centered in the collec- 
tion of Shakespeare's manuscripts. Like all writers of his 
time, he sold his plays outright to any theatre manager who 
would take them. We saw manuscripts, for which he received 
perhaps six or seven pounds, which are now worth thousands 
of dollars. The only letter left of all his correspondence is 
one written to him by his son-in-law, and it asks to borrow 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 187 

money. I am sure there are fathers-in-law today who would 
tell us that history repeats itself. In the Shakespeare house, 
much more has had to be restored than in the home of Anne 
Hathaway, perhaps because, for several centuries, it was occu- 
pied by strangers who could not feel for it the devotion that 
the members of the Hathaway family felt for their ancestral 
home. 

We found that the play for Thursday evening was to be 
Sheridan's "Rivals," introduced, I suppose, to break the ten- 
sion of the Shakespeare tragedies. I am quite sure that my 
best friend would never presume to claim for me that my en- 
thusiasms are ever tempered by common sense. On this occa- 
sion the balance was lost altogether. In the same breath in 
which I said how much I would love to hear the "Rivals," I 
added that I had always longed to take an auto ride which 
should last all night. Now, instead of scorning this sugges- 
tion as an insane folly, as she should certainly have done, my 
little guide's sporting spirit was at once challenged by it, and 
before we left Stratford to see Warwick Castle, we two mad 
children had bought tickets for the play that evening and 
planned to drive to London afterward. This was the more 
ridiculous because we had had some trouble with our car. As 
we started for Warwick, I said to Owie, "My dear, did you 
get petrol, before you took the car from the garage?" (petrol 
being the English term for what we call gas). "No," she 
replied, "we have enough." My one pet terror is being 
stranded in the midst of a garageless waste without gas, so I 
remonstrated rather forcibly, realizing that we had already 
traveled many miles on our supply. Now my little Owie has 
the best disposition in the world, but that morning she was 
tired, and she finally told me rather sharply that she was look- 
ing after the car. All went merrily until we had gone about 
three miles out of Stratford, then, bing! the car stopped. We 
hailed a passing car, and begged it to send us the A. A. man 
whom we had passed just as we left Stratford. Then we 
waited. In time he came. I had learned the wisdom of 
silence, and said nothing, but when I heard the drip, drip 



188 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

of the gas into the tank, I smiled, and then my little girl gave 
it up, and we laughed long and mutually over her discom- 
fiture. She admitted that she was apt to be a bit casual and 
trust to luck rather than take precautions, and promised to let 
my bump of caution rule the rest of the trip. These A. A. 
men are marvelous, and save the lives of tourists everywhere 
in England. They have everything from a screw driver to a 
gallon of gasoline, and they are true knights of the road, 
always ready to serve you cheerfully and without demanding 
tips. 

We reached Warwick without further adventure than nar- 
rowly escaping the killing of a dear little rabbit, who indis- 
creetly took a chance. To me, Warwick Castle is even more 
beautiful than Windsor, perhaps because nature has lavished 
her richest treasures upon it. The river kisses its feet, and 
the protecting hills enfold it in their embrace. There are over 
seven hundred acres in the castle grounds alone, and the estate 
is much larger. The present Earl of Warwick and his young 
wife occupy the castle as their home. They are somewhat 
socialistic in the best sense of that word, and their guests 
represent many types and every social class. We saw, of 
course, only the state apartments. These consist of a series of 
rooms, alf opening into each other. The art which adorns 
these spacious apartments represents not only Rubens and 
Van Dyck but also Reynolds, Velasquez, and other more 
modern painters. The lovely vista made by these rooms ends 
in the great banquet hall, where the Warwicks have for gener- 
ations entertained their noble guests. The whole is now 
lighted by electricity and heated by hot water, these modern 
improvements having been added by the late Earl. On festive 
occasions, these apartments must be beautiful beyond descrip- 
tion. In the banqueting hall, there is an immense old copper 
container said to hold one hundred and twenty gallons. It 
was used to make porridge for the whole castle family. Some- 
one, describing a party once given there, said, "It was filled 
with whiskey and lemon and sugar, and the ladies and gentle- 
men stayed until twelve." 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 189 

As a fortress, the castle dates back to the days of William 
the Conqueror. It must have been well-nigh impregnable. In 
the stone wall surrounding the keep are square holes through 
which they used to pour boiling pitch down upon the approach- 
ing enemy. The castle was remodeled by Fulke Greville. 
This interesting member of the Warwick family was purveyor 
of the king's household. He was, moreover, a poet of no mean 
ability, and at the moment, an effort is being made to collect 
his poems. He seems to have been a most interesting man. 
He was unmarried but took great interest in the castle. He 
has recently had a descendant who seems in many ways to have 
greatly resembled him. He held the same office in the king's 
household and was also a bachelor. He died but a few months 
ago. We wandered about the lovely, terraced grounds which 
slope down to the river on one side, and up to the hills on 
the other. In one of the small conservatories is a marvelous 
Grecian vase of great antiquity. It was found near Naples 
and dates back to at least 500 B.C. Sir William Hamilton, 
who at that time was Minister to Rome, sent it as a gift to 
his cousin, the Earl of Warwick. Every one knows the strange 
story of Sir William Hamilton and the child of the slums 
whom he married and of whom he made so great a lady. Also, 
every one knows what a vital part Lady Hamilton played in 
the life of Lord Nelson, but wandering about the grounds 
of Warwick Castle, they all seem very real, not at all like 
the more or less mythical personages of your English history 
text books. 

We went to the church where are buried the Warwicks 
for generations. The Greville chapel was lovely. In this 
church also are buried some of the family of Lord Leicester, 
Earl of Dudley, although I believe that he is buried at Kenil- 
worth. The eleven-year-old son of the Earl of Dudley by 
his second wife, the successor to the hapless Amy Robsart, 
has a tomb here. He was called the "Imp," evidently not 
because he was bad, but as a sort of pet name. His statue 
with his dog at his feet, and a tiny coronet on his little head, 



190 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

is lovely and appealing. Here also is the tomb of the great- 
est of the Warwicks, known as the "King Maker." 

Kenilworth is but seven miles beyond Warwick, and we 
had fully intended to go on to see its ruins. But when at 
last we emerged from the church, it was too late. We had 
just time to get dinner and pack our belongings before the 
play. 

The "Rivals" was delightful. We laughed anew at Mrs. 
Malaprop and sympathized with poor Lydia, although she 
was, I must admit, not very appealing. It was nearly eleven 
o'clock when we turned reluctant faces toward London. Of 
course, we were perfectly sure that we knew the way, of course 
we had maps and a flash light and all the rest, and equally, 
of course, we got lost. No two people with a grain of sense 
would have attempted to drive from Stratford to London in 
the rain and darkness. Certainly, no two sensible persons 
would have attempted to take a way different from that by 
which they had come merely because it was supposed to be 
shorter. It certainly did not prove to be so for us. We made 
just one wrong turn, but one is quite enough. Of course, my 
little girl hated to admit that we were lost, but when at last 
I broke my enforced silence and casually remarked, "Owie, 
dear, do main roads in England have grass growing in them?" 
she calmly replied, "I do not think they do." We wandered 
about hither and yon. Anything more dead than England at 
night it would not be possible to conceive. Not a light was 
visible. At last we caught sight of a glimmer in a tiny cot- 
tage, and aimed for it. Owie took her courage in her hand, 
and sounded the knocker which always serves instead of a bell 
in England. The door was immediately opened by an old 
man, clad in that outworn garment known as a "nightshirt," 
which dangled around his bare legs. Owie apologetically ex- 
plained that we were en route for London and were lost. Our 
old gentleman had evidently taken out his false teeth, and he 
talked through a heavy beard, but at last we gathered that if 
we went round to the left, then round to the right, we might 
reach Brackley and at blessed Brackley we could find the main 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 191 

road to London. Our old gentleman made it rather plain 
that he entertained grave doubts as to the respectability of a 
young lady who was traveling about at that hour of the night. 
He intimated that she "be for no good." I only hope he did 
not take cold. Among other things, he explained that he lived 
alone, and I teased Owie unmercifully, telling her I was sure 
she would have been more than glad to dispose of the relent- 
less chaperon. 

However, we did reach Brackley, and we did strike the main 
road, and we did ride calmly into London town about six 
A. M., more dead than alive. We stopped at one of those 
most Londony of all London institutions, the "coffee stall." 
We got some coffee which was so bad we could not drink a 
drop. But on the whole, we agreed that we had fared much 
better than we deserved, and also that we would do it all 
again. 

In spite of our all-night ride, we met early that afternoon. 
I bought a hat. When is a woman too weary to buy a new 
hat? Also, we bought flowers for my little dinner party. I 
had written the two English girls whom we had met at the 
Lyons the week before, inviting them to join us there for a 
farewell dinner party on Friday evening. And on my return 
I found a note of acceptance awaiting me. That dinner party 
is a thing to remember all my life. 

On Saturday morning, Owie, the faithful, came and took 
me to the Waterloo Station. To Southhampton was but a 
little hour or so, and then, on board the "Aurania." 

The hour has struck. The "Aurania" breaks anchor. My 
beautiful, wonderful, unbelievable year is ended. Is it, then, 
because I am disloyal to my birth land, or because I have 
ceased to love the adored friends who are my life, that the 
hot tears fall ? Ah ! I am sure that this is not true. But this 
old world grips me. There is so much to see, so much to 
learn. There are so many unfinished experiences, so many 
unexplored treasures. Then, too, there are all the new friends, 
no longer new, but interwoven with my very heart. Shall 
I never see them again? They gather round me in this hour. 



192 Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 

My little maid Mizzi in Berlin, who could never do enough 
for me to satisfy the measure of her love. My beloved Frau^ 
lein Heilbrun, who labored so patiently to teach me her lovely 
German speech, all the maids who served me so eagerly in 
Munich, in Milan, in Florence and Rome. There was Anton 
Lang, that saint of God, who honored me with his benediction. 
There were Mr. and Mrs. Huddleston, American Vice-Consul 
and wife, of Milan, who made their home a haven to me. 
There was Mrs. Roege, who showed me lovely Genoa, and my 
darling Maria Borchetta, who taught me Italian and showed 
me the beauty of utter selflessness, as I had never seen it be- 
fore. In Florence, my wise teacher and guide, Miss Fawcett 
and my friend, Miss Williams, to say nothing of the young 
Padre and our journey to Rome. And there, in that city of 
wonder and mystery, my little guide, Annie Belart and all the 
friends at Hotel Italia. On the way from Milan to Montreux, 
there were my lovely lady from India and her husband, whom 
I met only in those brief hours, but whose kindness I shall 
never forget. In beautiful Montreux there was my dear Mrs. 
Gordon-Smith, who constituted herself my guide and gave me 
two such perfect days. In Geneva, my wistful, gentle, little N 
Helene. In Paris, my two lovely girls, Inez and Martha, and 
my faithful guide, Miss Girardin. In London, ah, London, 
kind Mrs. Brigstocke and my dear, dear Owie Hunter, and the 
two lovely English girls whom we met and in whom my heart 
so instantly recognized kinship. Last night we had dinner to- 
gether in the same restaurant where just a week before we had 
met. They brought me red roses and tender words, and won- 
derful intellectual stimulus and companionship. We are going 
to write at least once a year, each to the other. We sat around 
the little table, bright with flowers, and listened to the music: 
Owie from Australia, these two friends from London, and I, 
from the land of the Stars and Stripes, and we felt the won- 
derful sisterhood which knows no country save the kingdom 
of the spirit. Ah, yes, and there was the nice Italian boy, 
whose name I do not even know, but who brought me coffee 
the morning of my night journey from Rome back to Milan. 



Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes 193 

All these, and many others whose lives have touched mine 
in the past year, and who are a part of my "Calendar of 
Saints." 

Is it, then, any wonder that the tears fall? Shall I ever 
pass this way again? God alone knows. But of this I am 
sure. Life is immeasurably bigger and finer and more intel- 
ligible for this marvelous experience. I am kin to all the 
world. My family of adoption are of every race and kindred. 
I am en rapport with all the beautiful, wonderful creations of 
genius of all time, and of every race. Above all, I know that 
love transcends race and environment and clime, and that it 
is the supreme heritage of life. 

Once more let me pay my tribute of unpayable gratitude 
and love to the Wonder Lady who has given me this, the 
supreme experience of my life, and the one perfect happiness. 
May all God's angels guard her and may her tribe increase. 

Almeda C. Adams 



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